R&D project targets fully adaptive automotive lighting

May 23, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A perfect illumination is a major safety factor in road traffic. An R&D project in Germany aims at developing a fully adaptive lighting system for road vehicles. The consortium involved covers the entire value chain - from liquid crystals to semiconductors, PCBs and optical systems.

The goal of the research project with the funny name VoLiFa2020 is developing a fully adaptive illumination distribution for intelligent, efficient and safe vehicle lighting. Fully adaptive in this context means that the lighting system adapts automatically, continuously and with almost zero delay to the driving situation - if, for instance, another vehicle or even a bicycle appears in the counter traffic, the lighting system will selectively dim the respective sector in the light cone. With its differentiated lighting distribution, the system will help drivers to faster and better identify potentially hazardous situations and thus contribute to overall road traffic safety.

Involved are a number of companies that cover the entire technology chain. Chemical company Merck develops specific liquid crystals custom-designed to control the light beam. Chipmaker Elmos AG is responsible for the semiconductors involved while PCB manufacturer Schweizer Electronic AG devises the customer-specific printed circuit board. Automotive lighting company Hella KGaA holds the responsibility for the development of the optical systems and the integration of the components. The research institute for lighting technology and mechatronics (L-Lab) and carmaker Porsche are devising the overall system specifications, taking into account the subjective perceptual aspects of all traffic participants. The lighting system targets not only passenger cars but also commercial vehicles like trucks and buses. The project is partially funded by the German federal research ministry BMBF with an amount of €2 million over a period of three years.

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