I recently went back to my longtime professional home and visited Valeo’s facilities in Bobigny, discovering their latest achievements in ultra-slim lamps. It put me in mind of the decade between 1990 and 2000, when I was at Valeo myself, proud to show rectangular lights of ‘only’ 70 mm height and round projectors of ‘only 60 mm diameter.
After the arrival of LEDs in large production in 2010-2015, that’s when headlamps really began to shrink in height and power consumption while growing in performance, down to 50 or even 40 mm high with a flux of 900 lm from 40 W power. The quest continued, with lighting suppliers competing, and we now see cars with headlamps just 15mm high with that same flux and consumption, like the module in the new Great Wall.
And still the quest continues! During my visit at the Valeo lab, I saw a lighting mockup with a height of—wait for it—only 5 mm! It is increasingly easy to achieve today a lighting module of 5 mm height with 900 lm from less than 30W. You’ll read about it in this week’s in-depth report. Moreover, I was impressed in driving at night by such a light, with perfect illumination on the right kerb; a very large spread on the left, and good homogeneity.
We will have to improve the aiming—static and dynamic alike—to avoid glare of such brightness, but this ever-shorter headlamp height goes in the direction of the automaker designers who want to hide the headlamps.
While optics might be growing less important with the arrival of new materials and techniques in thermics; electronics, and software, there is still a great need for great optics. Optics experts, I say congratulations on your successes! As during my job in the past, still today many things remain to be done in your field. Continue dreaming!
To watch the VODs from the DVN China Workshop, please follow this link.