LEDs tailor automotive lighting, improve safety

by Juliana Baron, Osram Opto Semiconductors , TechOnline India - January 02, 2012

Three little letters will change the future face of automobiles: LED. They combine the practical aspects of the car's design with aesthetic factors in all respects.

In the early days of the automobile, the aesthetics of illumination still played a subordinate role. The car's image was dominated by lanterns that were positioned on the outside of the vehicle, and this remained unchanged until they were replaced by gas lamps (carbide lamps).

As early as 1925, during the era of light bulbs, Osram made a significant contribution to automotive lighting: Bilux double-filament lamps, which were the first lamps to use only one lighting source for both dimmed light and head beams, thus improving lighting conditions. Since the 1970s, halogen car lamps have become established as the standard, and to this very day they are built into approximately 90% of all vehicles. However, with this source of lighting being used, it is very difficult to realize a unique design.

Headlamps with glow-discharge lamps—so-called Xenon lamps—entered the market in the 1990s. The color temperature is similar to that of daylight. This is what makes the Xenon light appear whiter and thus enables better sight, especially in bad weather. What is more, the "high-tech" look of the lights adds to the design of the vehicle. Therefore, Xenon lights are offered as optional original equipment in more and more cars, contributing significantly to their look.

Enter LEDs

Nevertheless, three little letters will change the future face of automobiles: LED. They combine the practical aspects of the car's design with aesthetic factors in all respects. The compact light emitting diodes, which originally merely served as substitutes for the very small light bulbs in vehicle cockpits, are presently conquering the entire spectrum of automotive lighting. Their greatest benefit: they require only little space and can be arranged in virtually any imaginable way.

Hence, not only can they be used as singular, point-shaped light sources, but also as solid lighting strips or illuminating surfaces. They combine a variety of different functions, such as dimmed lights and indicators, within one single luminaire and provide space for even more functions—for instance a night vision device. The manufacturer-specific definition of function and configuration ensures a striking design, also at night.

For the complete article, including specific design examples, nighttime safety advantages, and interior lighting features, click here, courtesy of Automotive Designline Europe.

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