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NAIAS (Detroit auto show) 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 March 2013

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The 2013 NAIAS in Detroit showed impressive innovation and novelty from automakers all over the world, including America and, notably, China.
Several important Firsts were on display, including the first BiHalogen and BiXenon projector headlamps in American-market full-size pickup trucks, the first LED rear combination lamp on a pickup truck from an American maker, and the first LED headlamps and split-field side view mirrors available on a truly mainstream family sedan.

Black BiHalogen; LED PL, DI, DRL

Acura RLX
Jewel Eye LED headlamp

Red Rear Turn Signal

LED Dual Square Low Beam

Designers are backing away from the all-chrome look that has dominated headlamps for many years, moving assertively towards blackout looks intended to accentuate the working components of the lamps. There is an increasing trend toward LED daytime running lights and more prevalence of side turn signal repeaters (often LED ones in the side mirrors) even though DRLs and repeaters are merely permitted, not required, in the US market—evidence that American makers are paying more attention to international trends.

That said, the world's manufacturers continue to treat rear turn signal colour as a stylistic matter in the American market, though they cannot reasonably be fully blamed for taking advantage of American regulations that continue to permit the rear indicators to emit red or yellow light despite international consensus for yellow and American data showing yellow to be more effective at preventing crashes.

On the other hand, American-style side marker lights and reflectors have not been widely adopted outside America where they are permitted but not required, despite good evidence they are good and cost-effective crash-avoidance devices.

There is a greater diversity of techniques used to soften the low-beam cutoff and throw light above it for bright illumination of overhead road signs in accord with American preferences. In general, the incremental improvement in lighting system content and performance in new versus old models is at an unprecedented height. Chinese automakers are clearly putting intensive effort towards meeting international regulatory and market expectations, and the Chinese cars on display at the 2013 NAIAS showed miraculous improvement in every respect—this was clearly visible in the technology, technique, fitment, and finish of the lighting equipment on the production and concept cars from China.

This report is narrowly focused on the vision systems of the vehicles on display. Around 150 photographs and 80 pages give a “you-are-there” look at the new vision systems and on the details that make American-specification lighting systems different from their rest-of-world UN-spec counterparts.