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Technical survey and regulations
ADB-Matrix Beam PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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The last ten years have brought numerous innovations in light sources and optical technique. AFS…LEDs…Lasers, and more. But really, the crown jewel innovation in automotive lighting is ADB (Adaptive Driving Beam, also called Glare-Free High Beam). It reached the road in production on the VW Touareg and Phaeton in 2010, and after a few more years LED matrix ADB systems came along, such as those on the 2014 Audi A8 and other models. While the systems all do the same thing in theory—give equipped the driver nearly full high-beam seeing and exposing other drivers only to low-beam glare—the state of the art is advancing rapidly and the methods of achieving the goal are proliferating.

This 60 pages report on ADB and matrix beam explains ADB technology, its benefits and challenges, the science and research on its efficacy, the four technical solutions, in production, development and research phase, with respective SWOT appraisals, and annotated assessment of the ADB driving experience.

Example systems described and assessed in the report include that of the Audi A8, A7 and TT and Mercedes CLS, all launched recently. Worldwide setmakers' production or readiness status is elucidated with regard to ADB/Matrix, and there are interviews with R&D Directors from a variety of involved companies.
There's a state-of-the-regulations section covering ECE and US, and interviews with three automakers' lighting directors: Wolfgang Huhn from Audi, Uwe Kostanzer from Daimler-Benz, and Gunnar Koether from Volkswagen who give their vision on ADB.
It's a timely, informative, engaging report of value especially for those in our lighting community who aren't involved on a day-to-day basis with the rapid development of this "holy grail" technology that stands to resolve the longstanding conflict between seeing and glare in traffic at night.

 

 
Materials & Processes in Automotive Lighting PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 September 2013

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This report presents the status of automotive lighting materials and processes developed and used by Tier-1 lighting suppliers. 
The first part of the report is focused on materials for external lenses with the different substrates and the different coatings including anti-fog coatings, and also internal lenses mainly for projector modules with the question mark of glass vs plastic.
In the second part, the author describes the adhesive bonding between housing and external lens emphasizing the advanced bonding technologies.  

Then the reflector material and production are presented emphasising the heavy process of thermoset and the possibility of using other materials such as PEI and even magnesium more adapted to LED light sources. 
The metalisation of reflectors and bezels is another important point of the automotive lighting processes. The metalisation of reflector is focused on perfect reflection of the light while metalisation of the bezel is focused on styling appearance with possibility of bright or colored aspects.

The author closes the report with a presentation of the main material players including Bayer MaterialScience, GXC, Red Spot, SABIC Innovative Plastics, DSM, Eschenbach Optik, and Evonik.
 
Shanghai International Automotive PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 June 2013

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It’s been fifteen amazing years for the Shanghai International Automobile Industry exhibition, which is able to boast is the world’s largest car extravaganza of the year. It has the largest number of exhibitors, the most new model introductions and brings forth the most concept vehicle showings in one place. To establish its massive stance?there were 2,000 manufactures from eighteen countries, 1,300 vehicles on display, 111 global vehicle debuts and 69 amazing concept cars showings. With China being the largest new market on the planet, all the automotive players are focused and competing for the visual prize of being seen and getting there brand noticed with innovation, style and distinct looks. Lighting?both exterior and interior has become one of the mainstays of design innovation. It is a fact that this current decade will be much more challenging and competitive for automotive companies and each of them will be tested to see if they can navigate to deliver positive performance and design looks that will sell there cars.

Often design innovation is born out of necessity or the overwhelming need to do something different in order to get noticed. This years auto show’s theme was “innovation for a better life” This is certainly true with the hottest design area?automotive lighting that continues to expand at an amazing rate. While it is not possible to document every single vehicle lighting design innovation or trend nor would it be a very interesting read, it is possible to break out the major categories to showcase innovative lighting trends, new technologies being used and showcasing unique design looks. Here are my category choices.

• Best-in-Class Lighting Designs
• Unique Design Looks
• New Lighting Design Trends
• New Materials Being Seen

 
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.

Ram
Black BiHalogen; LED PL, DI, DRL

Acura RLX
Jewel Eye LED headlamp

E-Class
Red Rear Turn Signal

Avalon
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.

 
2013 U.S. DVN Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 February 2013

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In January 2013, the second American DVN workshop, held in Michigan, became the sixth in the onrunning series of DVN workshops—joining Stuttgart, Paris, and Tokyo on the growing list of productive, fruitful workshops. The event was a smashing success, well attended by 175 experts from all sectors of the lighting and driver assistance community. The 60 pages of this report will brief you on the exchange of ideas, plans, innovations, and perspectives related to the development, commercialisation, marketing, and regulation of new lighting technologies in US and round the world from automakers, researchers, regulators, academics, practitioners, and Tier-1 and -2 suppliers.

Following an enjoyable meet-and-greet dinner soirée on the evening of the 14 th , the workshop opened on 15 January with an introduction by Daniel Stern and Ralf Schäfer on the f eedback from lighting congresses and motor shows during H2-2012 where several new technologies were presented.

Following this introductory event, nine presentations rounded out the rest of the morning's docket. First came a presentation by IAV's John Cooper who outlined the synergy between DA and Lighting. Then Valeo Sylvania's John Orisich followed with “ LED High beam from light guides” showing a new progress to improve styling differentiation.
Next came Varroc's charismatic Rainer Neumann presenting the latest and most important technology, Glare Free High Beam made by matrix beam.
Then Osram's Thomas Reiners discussed laser/remote-phosphor technology, Philips Automotive Lighting's John Peek and Astron-Fiamm's Bruno Dussert-Vidalet sequentially presented the state of the art in OLEDs for automotive applications,
Professor A. Von Hoffmann of the University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg talked about simulations, status and future trends, and Bart Terburg, GTB Vice president, presented Current International Harmonisation Activities Related to Lighting Regulation and Technical Requirements. Stephan Berlitz closed the presentation with the regulatory impacts of Avanced Lighting Systems and a interesting video on the matrix beam possiblitie sin AFS.

The afternoon docket included panel sessions and round tables:

Panel 1, chaired by Geoff Draper, focused on regulations. There was an enthusiastic exchange of experience, perspective, and opinions within and among the American and international vehicle lighting communities.

Panel 2, chaired by Alexander Von Hoffmann, one of the greatest experts on simulations, discussed the status and the future of simulations with the arrival of new light source technologies including LED, OLED, and lasers.

There were 5 round tables:
- Round table 1, chaired by Ralf Schäfer, gathered to discuss the question of glass or plastic lenses for use with LEDs.
- Round table 2, chaired by Michael Pickholz, was focused on new materials and processes for new lighting systems.

- Round table 3, chaired by Thorsten Warvel, gathered to discuss the future of actuators related matters of leveling, AFS, adaptive lighting systems, and electronics.
- Round table 4, chaired by former Valeo Lighting R&D Director Jean-Paul Charret, looked at LED standardisation and gathered experts from Philips, Osram, Nichia

- Round table 5, chaired by Stephan Berlitz, talked about the f uture of OLED technology in automotive lighting.

Pictures during dinner, lectures, and breaks close the report.

 
DA and Advanced Lighting systems PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 January 2013

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The accelerating convergence and co-integration of lighting, vision, driver-assistance and other safety systems in the automobile presents the entire industry with challenges on a never-before-seen scale. The size and complexity of this co-integration requires new approaches, tools, and talent for successful development, testing, and homologation. The ever-increasing synergy of lighting and ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems) will be just one part of the more daunting automotive "mega- architecture" required for autonomobiles (cars equipped for partly or fully autonomous driving).

In this report about ADAS and lighting technologies, DVN has deliberately only touched on a fraction of the unparalleled present and forthcoming challenges now faced by the automotive Lighting and ADAS community. After having described the current state of art and the need for an integrated systems approach for car-embedded hardware and software, this report defines the various ADAS functions available on premium car segments and briefly traces their history.

In a second chapter, the two main categories—AFS (Advanced Front-lighting Systems) with their five features and Adaptive Lighting Systems with their four functions are described followed by the panel of the different global players analysed.

Sensors are the subject of the third chapter with their related image and information processing needs.

Finally the last chapter predicts the outlook of combined Lighting and ADAS systems could be in the next future and enumerates the main challenges the automobile industry is facing in this context.

 
Automotive lighting Activities H2-2012 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

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DVN decided to publish a report on the lighting activities in this 2012 second half year because so many decisive things happened in this period. The 4 events detailed in this report which took all place during S2-2012 illustrate this trend.

1) During DVN Tokyo workshop , for the first time and thanks to an excellent English-Japanese translation, there was a real discussion between Japanese and European players about new automotive lighting technologies namely:
- Regulations and the risk of a lack of harmonisation.
- Future of LEDs, with new adaptive lighting technologies including matrix beam, and the penetration to middle and low range cars.
- Standardisation to reach affordable costs while benefiting from styling differentiation..

2) During Mondial Paris motorshow , we have seen very interesting features on new car models concerning lighting: Audi A3 with options including LEDs, Mercedes A-Class showing how lighting appearance strongly supports the brand, BMW 7 series with a new lighting concept which is able to match DRL and main lights requirements.
But we have also seen for the first time 2 middle range cars equipped with LED headlamps which combine appearance differentiation and lighting performances. It was a real revolution to see premium car options spreading so rapidly in the middle range.

3) VISION congress in Versailles, France, was able to gather 400 attendees, an all-time record, during 2 full days, which show the increasing interest of the lighting community for new technologies. Following subjects were considered as most interesting:
- LED and its continuing improvements in optics, thermics, electronics, architecture, and power savings;
- Adaptive light systems, and the implementation of intelligent lighting as high beam assistant, horizontal and vertical adaptive cutoffs, and glare free high beam,
- Systems combining LED and adaptive light including LED arrays to produce AFS, matrix-beam systems, and spot marking light functions.

4) During Haus der Technik in Berlin, Germany, we have seen a confirmation that Electronics, Dynamic Light, and ADAS will be the future trend in cutting edge automotive lighting technology but there are still several challenges as regulations, standardization, thermics/fogging, We have seen also how lighting differentiation by headlamps and rear lamps is a strong lever for car makers.

As detailed in this report, these last 6 months showed the increasing importance of lighting not only in premium cars but also in middle range cars.
The huge challenges associated to mass marketing these new lighting technologies are still ahead of us. The three most important are regulations, standardization and the engineering workload generated by the proliferation of these new technologies.

 
Interior Lighting Report PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 July 2012

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The increasing interest of the automobile customers in Automotive Interior Lighting generates intensive activities to improve the interior lighting in all vehicle segments. Lighting engineers, designers, scientists, experts for electronics, optics, simulation, visualization and construction work with the suppliers on new lighting concepts, designs, functions, integrations, animations with special design amplifying, physiological and psychological effects. New small, robust and car life time light sources enlarge the potential of interior lighting enormously and facilitate a lot of new lighting features and an interesting business. European suppliers still dominate the global market, but Asian suppliers are joining for a greater market share.

Vehicle exterior lighting gets a great deal of coverage, in accord with its unprecedented rapid pace of technical and technological innovation. The lights inside the vehicle are less discussed, but are likewise undergoing rapid and fascinating revolution and evolution. The pace and variety of advancement in the state of the interior lighting arts is even greater than that of exterior lighting, because the stringent technical and legal regulations that govern the design, performance, and construction of exterior lights do not apply to interior lighting.
Traditional light sources—incandescent bulbs and, for commercial vehicles, fluorescent tubes—are being supplanted by LEDs, OLEDs, electroluminescent foils, and other high-tech light sources. Optical technique and implementation are changing to accommodate and maximise the performance of the new light sources, even as available space for lighting devices shrinks. In turn, the new light sources and optics are unlocking new design prospects unimaginable just a few years ago. In an increasing swath of the whole vehicle segment, the days are past of the simple, single on/off  dome light. New knowledge of physiological and psychological needs and preferences in ambient and task lighting combines with the new light technology and technique in the hands of designers and engineers to produce ambient environments full of non-glaring, variable-colour light that can be tailored to tasks, preferences, temperatures, outside light levels, and numerous other parameters.

The new and old techniques, technologies, and possibilities are presented in detail, with numerous examples depicted and described. Profiles are provided of some major players in the interior lighting market, and trends for the future are discussed.
 
LED Technologies in Automotive Lighting PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 January 2012

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The global market for HB LEDs exceeds $5bn annually, and is expected to grow at a pace of more than 24% annually. The automotive lighting market is still a small part of it with $750m but will benefit from the aggressive and bullish approach of global suppliers which view this market as an attractive and fast growing volume market opportunity.
In former DVN reports, we described how LEDs were gradually introduced first for CHMSL, then for rear lighting multifunction and DRL thanks to the unique styling and brand recognition benefits of the technology. Since 2007 and the arrival of the first LED headlamp in the Lexus LS600H, LED headlamp became the first priority of Premium cars, Audi with R8, A8, A7, and A6, Mercedes-Benz with the CLS or BMW with the 6 Series Coupe started in 2011.

After describing in the first part the technologies involved in the latest LED headlamps, this report covers in its second part the offerings and market strategies of the main leading global automotive LED suppliers.

The benefits are not only styling differentiation but also energy consumption reduction and lighting performance. In the third part of the report, the benefits, drawbacks, and leading and lagging areas of development and refinement are discussed in terms of safety performance, total cost of commercialisation, and subcomponent standardisation.

An important part of the report is dedicated to forecasts about volume production and technical performance.
The report is closed with detailed illustrations and comments are given on most of LED headlamps equipping production car models with an attempt to describe where the progress is most prominent and more than 20 concept car models which project a vision of future trends.

In around 100 pages and more than 200 illustrations this report draws the roadmap of LED headlamps and describes its future as seen through the eyes of the author and in the faithful opinion of some of the best automotive lighting experts.
We retain from this report how LED appearance shifts from the signature of a technology mainly reflector for halogen and projector for HID to a brand signature and the possibility to better differentiate in the same car model a high range version from a low range. We also do not forget the two other main benefits, reduced power consumption and the potential for better lighting performance than halogen and HID.

 
LED Thermo Electrics PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 January 2012

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LED solutions in automotive lighting get an ever-increasing level of attention—not only on show cars, but also in the market where a continuously growing number of models is equipped with LED lighting. This DVN technical report on LEDs and their implementation in the electrical and thermal environment is a response to the increased prevalence and interest of LED lights on (and in) cars.

The target group for this report is not technical specialists, but rather persons who in their daily work are confronted with more general questions and decisions around LEDs and want to gain a solid basic understanding of this technology. We cover the various topics from a broader view by giving typical examples and data without going into too much detail or trying to account for each and every execution variant.

The chapters of the report focus on the LED itself and its interfaces to the electrical and thermal interfaces in the car.

First we describe the technology of the LED. The basic physical principles of light emission are outlined and related to the typical construction of LED products of the different integration levels. Additionally a sketch of the manufacturing processes of LED dies is discussed.

Secondly we focus on the electrical characteristics of LEDs. The consequences of this behaviour for the electronics driver circuitry are explained and design examples are discussed.

In a third step, the most important elements of the temperature dependence of an automotive LED are covered. It will become clear that the thermal management of an LED is paramount to the performance of the built lighting device overall. Especially also the characteristics and influences of the cooling by heat sinks is explained.

As a link to application examples we include photographs of the thermal components of various LED systems for rear lighting, signaling, DRLs and headlamps. The variety of different designs highlights the problem of non-modularity and reusability of technologies leading to growing engineering resource needs.

As an outlook to the future we present three expert opinions in the field on the development of LED systems and markets, and we conclude with some of our own (DVN) statements, predictions and forecasts about the future of LED automotive lighting.

 
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