SAE Worldwide Congress 2011 Print
Tuesday, 26 April 2011

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This report is written primarily for automotive lighting experts who were not present at SAE 2011 World Congress or who may have missed important lectures there. In 30 pages, we summarize and analyze the main presentations.
This year there was relatively sparse participation from Europe and Japan, which was a pity. But about 100 people attended—some standing for lack of enough chairs—which is a big increase over the past two years and shows renewed genuine interest in the subject of vehicular lighting and related matters.

The lectures covered LED and HID technological developments and in-depth survey studies of lighting-related safety performance and human factors issues.

Lawrence Rice from Osram presented a clear, interesting lecture about optical design facts and factors with LED headlamps, and Josef Schug from Philips gave a detailed lecture about current strategies and coming trends in heat sinking and thermal stackup with LEDs in headlamps. Joachim Reill of Osram Opto Semiconductors presented a technical discussion of some non-obvious bad effects of heat on LEDs, and how these can be mitigated. Rainer Neumann from Visteon presented with his usual charisma a lecture (and movie!) on 25w HID headlamps. Another paper on the topic of 25w Xenon was presented by Helmut Tiesler-Wittig from Philips.

John Bullough from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center presented two lectures, one about U.S. concerns over headlamp glare and visibility—which point up US drivers' and news reporters' poor understanding of lighting. Bullough's second lecture showed the great effects on discomfort glare of the background luminance of a glare source such as a headlamp.

The exhibition was very weak in lighting with few small companies as DMC (Thermoset producer) and Hamsar (aftermarket LED headlamps) presenting their products. Some concept cars already presented at NAIAS or Geneva were shown. This is in contrast to the much larger lighting presence at the SAE expo in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when many major Tier-1 and Tier-2 lighting suppliers were present. On the other hand, this year's lighting presence and interest at both the congress and expo was markedly stronger than last year's or 2009's, so we can look forward to (and work toward) that trend continuing.