DVN had the pleasure to talk with Shammika “Shammi” Wickramasinghe, the Technical Specialist for Exterior Lighting responsible for technical strategy at Jaguar-Land Rover. He has been in the automotive industry since 1998, and was Section Manager of the Electrical team at Honda UK. Guided by his expertise in lighting and electrical systems, JLR churn out model after new model with the highest technologies in exterior lighting.
DVN: JLR are known for nice vehicles, and the company also are involved in safety. Tell us about that, will you please?
Shammi: JLR vehicles are amongst the safest vehicles in the world to occupants and other road users. The new Defender won the Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating award. In JLR, zero harm is one of our pillars of vision; in lighting we continue to develop improvements in all weather comfort and vision to enhance the driver’s experience and reduce the cognitive workload and improve safety.
DVN: What kinds of things are you doing to improve safety at night?
Shammi: We are continuing to develop our lighting to see and be seen, allowing our customers effortless, tireless night driving with minimum distractions due to constant changes in light (ADB) by making the transition seamless and refined. We ensure our signalling functions are well defined and clearly presented, making it easy for other road users to clearly understand what the intention of the vehicle and the driver is, thereby making the vehicle safer for its occupants as well as other road users.
DVN: During the development of a project, is there conflict with stylists to use ADB, a function not seen by the end-user?
Shammi: No, our design and styling teams understand the importance of safety enhancement features such as ADB, and are happy to work with the engineering team to package modules from the start.
DVN: What might you say about JLR’s five new models launched these last 12 months?
Shammi: Yes, we released the Jaguar E-Pace, F-Pace, F-Type, and XF, and the Land Rover Discovery in the last 12months. We have a combination of matrix and pixel technolgy that we released with enhanced operations, with seamless transitions between adaptive states, and we introduced some additional features to improve the night driving experience with lighting.
DVN: Can you share more detail on the new F-Type equipped with pixel ADB?
Shammi: The F-Type uses the JLR pixel modules developed jointly by JLR and suppliers. Each module is multifunctional and delivers both low beam and high beam functions, together with ADB & AFS.
DVN: You have a great signature in the rear lights. Could you present the strategy of Jaguar concerning rear light, about safety and design?
Shammi: The rear lamp signature has evolved to give a 3D visual effect without causing any distractions. We see lighting as a safety critical componenet and as such, we ensure the signaling functions are clearly visible even at a distance above and beyond the legal requirements. We have designed and engineered the rear lamps to be able to clearly identify that the vehicle in front is a Jaguar, providing clear visible signals to vehicles following the Jaguar products.
DVN: At the same time, the Land Rover Discovery just launched with matrix ADB. Could you explain this difference between this and the pixel system?
Shammi: The Land Rover matrix technology is an evolution from the previous matrix technology that JLR used and was developed in coöperation with our supplier. The 2nd Generation Matrix technolgy in the Discovery offers superior perfomance and has a greater width and depth of the low and high beam. It seamlessly tracks and shadows oncoming and preceeding vehicles to minimise the shadow and maximise the light on the road without glaring other road users.
DVN: To make ADB, we have now a wide palette of different technologies—DMD, µLED, LCD, LCoS, laser scanning and others. What do you favour? What will come to dominate?
Shammi: In my opinion the next technology is DMD, closely followed by µLED with more than 10 kilopixels to allow the functionality of the DMD while being more efficient.
DVN: About the performance of the light, what are your priorities? Quantity of light, homogeneity, features, functions, others?
Shammi: The most important aspects of lighting are the quality of light, the homogeneity, and the lighting signature. Quality of the light and functions are a priority. This reduces driver stress at night and keeps the focus of the driver on the road. AFS and ADB operations together with the embeded features and functions of the system needs to be seamless and refined so the driver is not distracted by the switching and operation of the system. When the light is not homogeneous, the cognitive load on the brain increases due to the constant focusing between the hot spots and dark patches, making the eyes work harder due to constant refocusing of the eyes, causing driver fatigue. Therefore, the quality of light and homogenity must be the number one priority for lighting.
The signature needs to be crisp and have the ability to showcase the vehcile before it is close to you and you are able to read its name. The signature is very important as you need to be able to identify the vehicle brand and type at a distance in the night and day.
These three things—quality, homogeneity, signature—are a must and everything else in my view is nice to have.
DVN : At the 2020 Munich DVN Workshop, you gave a very interesting talk on digital lighting and communication. How do you think digital lighting and road projections will boost safety?
Shammi: Digital lighting has enhanced the way we do things and the ability for us to give the customer a better experience and a pleasurable night driving experience minimising the stress on the driver and passenger. Digital lighting allows us to dynamically change the projections and point of focus without any mechanical parts, improving the reliability. Digital lighting also enables us to project useful information to the driver, such as speed limit changes, no entry signs, sharp corners or blind bend warnings in the driver’s field of view so they can see the signs and react without having to change their viewing angle of the road to look at the speedometer or navigation and so forth—that keeps the focus clearly on the road.
The projections also help other road users as people [such as pedestrians] may not notice a vehicle is about to turn in front of them as they are focusing on a mobile phone or looking away from the oncoming or turning vehicle but a projection in front of the pedestrian will get their attention, thereby making pedestrians and other road users more aware of what is happening around them, thus improving nighttime safety.
DVN: You have done a great job in the interior lighting of the E-Pace. Could you present the strategy of JLR concerning the interior lighting in general?
Shammi: JLR have now developed the interior lighting to be as good as or better than some of the best products in the market. We have made the interior lighting selection user-friendly and intuitive. It is easy to select the desired comfort level of ambiance needed to have a relaxing journey inside the JLR products, removing stress and adding enjoyment and comfort to the drive, wherever your journey may take you to.
DVN: Finally, what is your vision on lighting, considering so many technologies are coming?
Shammi: We must deliver the basics well and not forget the basics and what lighting is useful for. We must improve safety at night by offering features and functions to support the driver at night to stay focused on the road in front of them. We must reduce and minimise distractions from this lighting and use lighting to make the driver and passenger and the other road uses feel safe at night.
Thank you Shammi! See you soon at a night drive in the UK and at the DVN Workshop in Novi, Michigan later this year.