10 Cool Automotive Lighting Features

#hashtags: #LEDs #LED #Audi

Lighting your path as you go down the road has evolved from crude oil lamps all the way to today’s LEDs and laser-produced light. We’re taking a look at the current state-of-the-art of lighting in the automotive world and bring you 10 features that light your way, signal your intentions, and are just plain cool. LED headlights Light-emitting diodes, called LEDs for short, are used in both the accents of modern headlights and as the main light-producing element. The Audi Q7 has both LED accents and low/high-beams for illuminating your path. Laser No, it’s not a James Bond weapon. Lasers for headlight have been used by both BMW and Audi and use a series of mirrors to reflect light that’s not technically laser light down the road. In the Audi R8 LMX, the laser spots activate above 37 mph and are joined by LED high-beams. Adaptive From the popular Ford Focus to the pricey Audi A8, adaptive headlights have many different implementations but accomplish the same thing: providing more light in the right places when the road gets curvy. The Ford uses a mechanical system to aim the beams, but the Audi uses an electronic one. Automatic high-beams Sometimes called smart high-beams, the automatic high-beam will, like its name suggests, automatically switch from high- to low-beams when another car or motorcycle is detected. We think they ought to be mandatory. BMW Light Spot BMW Light Spot uses similar technology to the automaker’s Night Vision in that it recognizes pedestrians and has the ability to spotlight them if they cross your path. A prototype we were shown used two motorized spots in the place of foglights (thus being able to track two pedestrians). It will only light pedestrians who have actually entered your path and are in danger of being hit. Carnegie Mellon programmable automotive headlights Now this thing is cool. A team at Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute has created a prototype that has been demonstrated to not dazzle oncoming drivers (similar to automatic high-beams but more like Audi’s LED Matrix light, except better), to highlight pedestrians (BMW Light Spot, anyone?), and to improve visibility in poor weather. The system will recognize individual snowflakes or raindrops and can strategically deactivate the light beam that would normally reflect off of it, essentially letting drivers see through the bad weather. Check out the informative video here. Night vision It’s been 16 years since we got out first peek at automotive-grade night vision (thanks Cadillac!), but the technology has largely remained a novelty. We even drove a Mercedes-Benz E-Class on the Stelvio Pass without headlights to showcase the technology in 2009. In 2016 the systems have advanced to the point of identifying pedestrians and their intent to enter the road or your path of travel, but they are mostly costly add-ons to luxury vehicles. LED interior lighting Interior lighting has come a long way from bulbs suspended over your head in headliner cardboard. Mini’s offerings can change colors based on drive modes and even music. Although it’s neat, I point you to the 2017 Audi A4 for true innovation. Not only can you adjust to more than a dozen colors, but you can also link it to the blind-spot warning system. The system will flash the door lighting red if a cyclist or car is about to pass you. Puddle lamps There are cars that unlock with a touch and glow softly when you walk up, but nobody does it like Lincoln. At 8 feet, the car detects the key fob, and as the exterior lights gradually come on, the Lincoln logo is projected onto the ground as an illuminating welcome mat. LED taillights LED lighting, a recurring technology for modern lighting, has allowed manufacturers to move away from simple reflector designs. Take the striking but simple design at the rear of the Cadillac Escalade. The taillights run from the bumper to the roof and cut quite the profile when the sun goes down.