By Carsten Befelein, DVN-Interior Consultant, Smart Interior Workshop
Carmakers are running with lighting as a key factor for the future car interior. Today we have different functional lamps for reading and bright illumination of the car interior and its exterior surroundings, supplemented by displays and ambient lighting of the floor, cabin space, interior components, and on surfaces of textiles and smart decor trims.
Interior lighting has a wide array of functional and ambient lighting functions as series equipment in the higher car segments, and increasingly available as extras in the lower segments.
Before the pandemic, BMW predicted a tenfold increase in light elements in the car interior in the near future. Despite the pandemic this trend could continue because interior lighting has a high perception, acceptance, and demand by customers in all car segments. For that matter, the pandemic could wind up accelerating lighting uptake—think of cabin sanitising by UV light, for example. Interior lighting will become more and more complex and multifunctional with an increasing number of new light elements and functions in night and day design, driven by affordable and package-minimised LED technology, consumer interest and trends, and the perception of the car interior as living space.
Displays and lights will carry on growing more and more reciprocally integrated in new, ever-more-seamless ways as styling elements and for dynamic and adaptive functions including ambient lighting and welcome/farewell animations. Software combines interior lighting with matching interior component functions. Comfort use cases and assistance enrich the functionalities of today. The future interior lighting follows the megatrends of increasing connectivity and digitalisation for infotainment and enhanced interaction with the environment, individualisation and personal lighting solutions, efficiency for electric vehicles and new use cases in autonomous driving vehicles.
Static indirect and contour lighting will be replaced by dynamic lighting functions for signaling, safety and communication aspects. Dynamic matrix reading lamps, zone lighting for each passenger, adaptive lighting for different seat positions and activities, light beams for hand guidance, anti-fatigue and anti-motion-sickness lighting, and individualised lighting for wellbeing, relaxing, and alertness are only some examples for future interior lighting functions.
“Experience modes” deliver orchestrations of interior lighting and functionalities matched to a variety of situations and scenarios. The functionalities are addressed to different senses to form a coherent experience. The complete interior experience can be changed with just one click or voice command. With this kind of modal adjustability, passengers can experience different moods and æsthetic orchestrations in the car interior for wellness, vitalisation, and relaxation achieved by a combination of light, climate control, massage, scents, music, and other suchlike.
Future interior lighting developments will be driven by safety, communication, comfort, and styling demands; examples include the aforementioned welcome/farewell animations, brand identification, and new lighting functions and technologies. Light projections, smart LEDs, microLEDs, smart functional surfaces, laser-based lighting, guiding materials for 3D light patterns on demand, and area backlighting with hidden-until-lit effects are some of the new lighting technologies being researched and developed for future lighting applications.
Tomorrow’s automotive interior lighting will also borrow and share reciprocally with general lighting, with its much longer history and experience in developing lighting for all imaginable use cases. Now that technology and technique exist to do so, many general lighting solutions and effects can be transferred into the car interior, especially for autonomous driving vehicles.
ISELED (Intelligent Smart Embedded LED) is an innovative technology based on highly integrated, smart LED modules enabling dynamic ambient and functional lighting solutions.
A widespread group of companies are working together as an ISELED Alliance to promote and further develop this technology. The alliance will be presented at the DVN-Interior Conference and Expo on 24 September.