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Mercedez-Benz Profile
Tuesday, 29 November 2011

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Uwe Kostanzer :  “New technology only if it is good for the driver”

Like the two previous ones about PSA and Audi, this DVN report on “Mercedes-Benz and Lighting” focuses on the achievements and specificities of Mercedes-Benz Cars as far as lighting is concerned, and how they differentiate from their competitors in their approach to lighting and driver assistance.

Until 1990, Mercedes-Benz used to have the worst front lighting in Europe : H4 bulbs with high focal length, low level of light on the road. This was public knowledge and we could read about these lousy performances in specialized newspapers.

Five years later, started a complete revolution with complex shape reflector/free form technology in the C-Class as a milestone, extended then to all Mercedes-Benz car models.

The next improvement few years later was the arrival of Xenon and then the “Intelligent light Systems” using 5 light functions:
- Country mode for better illumination on the area to the sides of the road.
- Motorway mode for a better range.
- Active light to better illuminate the curves.
- Enhanced fog lamps, to have a better orientation in adverse weather conditions.
- Cornering light to illuminate the road edges

The Intelligent Light System has been combined with BiXenon and now with LED headlamps.   
Since 2010, Intelligent Light System have been improved with the arrival of adaptive lighting with continuous dipping for oncoming traffic. On the E-Class and the S-Class, the offside cutoff of the low beams is progressively dipped lower and lower as an oncoming vehicle approaches, so as to minimise glare to its driver.

This report well explains how since 2005, under the thrust of Uwe Kostanzer, Head of Light System Development, Mercedes-Benz have been presenting very innovative lighting products, matching the same quality level as Audi, the pioneer in automotive lighting. The lights of the CLS well emphasize this strategy, identified by Uwe as “introducing a new technology only if it is good for the driver”.

Latest lighting technologies developed by Mercedes-Benz and their lighting suppliers for their most recent car models are described. This report presents all these features in full details and includes Mercedes-Benz most recent cutting-edge contributions to 2011 ISAL Congress, interviews with Uwe Kostanzer, Head of Light System Development