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Saturday, 22 June 2019

Lighthouse of the future promises to change cars design

The multi-segmented beacon mimics the eyes of insects, not to capture, but to direct the light coming out. Here, two modules are mounted with a rotation of 1.5 ° to each other. [Image: Fraunhofer IOF]

Lighthouse of the future

Engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have developed a new lighting technology for automobiles that is being heralded as the definitive revolution of headlights.

The innovation promises to give designers more freedom to create cars with unconventional styles, more comfort for drivers, lower costs for car manufacturers and more safety for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers and drivers.

According to its creators, the new generation of vehicular lights not only exceeds the legal and automotive industry requirements for performance and lighting functionality, it is also more efficient, more compact and significantly more flexible than the current systems with regard your location on the vehicle.


The new high-visibility headlamps are segmented units designed to minimize the dispersion of light. Each headlamp is based on a multi-aperture projector composed of up to 200,000 micro-optical elements, focusing the light in an ideal way in the direction of the vehicle, including in the curves.

The headlamp consists of two modules, each containing seven individually controllable LED sets. A total of four collimation lenses direct the light from the LED sets to two lens arrays composed of the micro-optical elements, which distribute the light. Thousands of micro-lenses precisely guide the light to the respective lighting segments.

Demonstration of the disconnection of a headlight strip, to avoid the glare of those coming in the opposite direction. [Image: Fraunhofer IOF]

Lighthouse with full control


Each segment of the headlamp can be turned on or off in a fraction of a second by individually controlling the LEDs. By combining this with modern vehicle sensor technologies, it effectively prevents high headlights from dazzling oncoming drivers.

This is because the light can be dimmed or turned off depending on traffic, which includes not only vehicles that come in the opposite direction, but also pedestrians and cyclists, increasing the level of safety for all users.

In addition, the design - flat and very thin - requires significantly less installation space compared to conventional headlamps. Designers are thus free to decide whether to install headlights on the outer edges of the nose of the vehicle, as is usually done, or as a narrow band at its center, since the system allows a very small installation depth and offers much more freedom of dimensions and forms.

"The headlights no longer need to be rectangular: the designer can choose any other desired shape," said Stephanie Fischer, a staff member who involved academia and industry collaborators. "Larger optical drive space requirements limited design possibilities in the past."




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