DVN was invited to talk with Ingolf Schneider, Thomas Feid and Philipp Röckl from Opel lighting team, about actual and future lighting. As nearly all other big companies Opel was nearly empty, nobody was visible in the long aisles. Only a few people did work in the huge offices of the development center. The parking spots for thousends of cars were all free. I was the only visitor at the entrance gate where normally queues of suppliers and other partners wait for their visitor badge. I really hope that this Corona phase has an end soon.
Opel introduced a week ago the concept car Manta E-Mod with a complete new lighting concept. The lighting is hidden behind a black “Vizor” which is in fact a big front display with a lot of pixels. The pixels are Osram LEDs embedded into a 2.5D plastic screen. The headlamps are not any more sculptural elements, but a part of the body surface, visible when lit. The idea is that only the function is visible, no bezels, no refectors, no lenses, no mechanical elements at all.
If we follow this idea consequently, designers have a completely new and additional job definition in future. The visible functions are 100% software defined, different design knowledge is needed then. The design of functions and communication must be created instead of bezels and reflectors, this means Know How about HMI and User Experience is neccessary. The big area of the Vizor is used – I guess – about 25% for lighting functions and 75% for communication. This functions and the communication is flat, no three dimensional sculptues but flat, digital elements. A tremendous change.
Similar integrations we have seen as so called shy tech in other, mainly Japanese interior and exterior studies, but not as consequent as Opel shows in the Manta E-Mod. This idea can be the next big change in automotive lighting, especially for the 1st and also 2nd tier suppliers and the lamp designer in the OEM’s design departmensts.