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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Auto lighting: For a bright & safe future
Auto lighting: For a bright & safe future
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Though demand for traditional automotive lighting solutions continues to be high (as they are easily available and cost less), the market is moving towards energy-efficient solutions like LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Factors like implementation of BS VI norms by 2020, need for better vehicle safety features and growing sales of electric vehicles will further increase demand for LEDs in automotive industry, says Rakesh Rao.
The demand for lighting, which plays important role in the aesthetics and basic functionality of a vehicle, is directly dependent on the increase in vehicle production. In India, which is one of the leading vehicle markets globally, automotive lighting market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 12 per cent in the near future, on the back of improvement in vehicle safety standards, advanced features in vehicle lighting systems, and government regulations towards safety & efficiency.
Though the market is moving towards LEDs, demand for traditional lighting solutions continues to be high as they are easily available and cost-efficient. “Due to an increasing car park worldwide, there is a huge demand for traditional lighting products (halogen and HID). Also in very price sensitive countries you can find an immense market for traditional products (especially halogen),” says Avinder Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Osram India Pvt Ltd.
LED – key growth driver
The developing populace, increment in automotive production, and the rising worries about vehicle security activated by the government guidelines are driving the development of the automotive lighting market. Avinder Singh explains, “Modern, innovative and intelligent automotive lighting is a global mega-trend. Increasing technical advances in lighting inspire motorists to seek out the latest innovations. Enhanced performance, improved security, and a memorable design are the focal points of automotive lighting trends and research. In the OEM business, you will find new applications such as laser lighting for high beam or ADB lighting for low beam (mostly in premium cars). Also, OLED (organic LED) will be used in some rear lighting applications. In the AFTM business, we see a worldwide switch towards LED lighting solutions as well, especially in additional lighting applications (eg fog lights, day time running lights).”
Since the first full LED headlamp was introduced in 2007, LED technology has gradually penetrated headlamp (HL) design. LED technology has allowed lighting to become a distinctive feature and enabled innovative functions like the glare-free adaptive high beam.
Earlier, use of LED - which had to compete with traditional light sources, namely halogen and high-intensity discharge (HID/Xenon) - was limited to high-end vehicles. However, factors like improved performance, lower power consumption and flexible design enabled usage of LEDs. As demand went up, cost of LEDs reduced, thus spreading their usage to all vehicle categories.
Faster and wider adoption of LEDs augur well for manufacturers as high-value LEDs offer better margins for automotive lighting companies. As LED penetration in India is still very low (15-20 percent), there is a huge potential for the companies to grow.
Lighting - a vital component in automotive vehicles - plays a very important role in automotive safety. With safety gaining importance due to growing consumer awareness and government regulation, vehicle makers are taking steps to improve visibility at night (and in poor weather) by adopting better lighting technologies. One key initiative of many manufacturers is to replace the out-dated halogen and HID lamps that have been the mainstream for vehicle lighting until now.
“The obvious choice for a solid-state alternative to current lighting technology is LED. Now extremely popular in a wide variety of applications, LED technology has seen significant performance improvements over the past decade, along with significant decreases in unit cost. LED lighting has been used in automotive applications such as interior lighting and side lights for a while but, due to the advances and improved cost, auto manufacturers are now considering implementing LEDs in brake lights and headlights,” says Mark Patrick, Supplier & Technical Marketing Manager EMEA, Mouser Electronics – a distributor of electronic components.
LED lighting technology is also more versatile than traditional automotive lighting. “Using a technique known as ‘pixel light’ technology certain areas at the front of the light can be masked out. This avoids dazzling other road users - especially drivers of oncoming vehicles, but also pedestrians and animals - reducing the risk of an accident,” informs Mark Patrick.
Energy efficiency: The need of the hour
With automotive industry undergoing changes, lighting solution providers are focusing on new technologies to develop superior, innovative products.
By 2020, India will implement Bharat Stage (BS) VI norms, which would require the vehicles to be more energy efficient. This is expected to lead to faster adoption of LEDs as they use less energy from the drivetrain compared to traditional lights. Rise in adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will also lead to increase in demand for LED products as EVs require products to be energy efficient. “One of the several advantages that LED lighting system offers is the reduction in power required to perform the same functions. For energy efficient vehicles, Osram has SSL (solid state lighting) technologies like LED to manage the transition quickly,” states Avinder Singh.
LED technology has a number of benefits in automotive applications, including the ability to operate in high temperatures and switch rapidly. “However, probably the most important attributes for automotive are their reliability and long life, as well as their ability to maintain consistent performance over their lifetime. Equally important, especially in the context of EV, is their efficiency. Traditional lightings are notoriously inefficient – they waste fuel (or deplete batteries faster) and generate significant heat which requires extensive thermal management, adding weight and cost to the vehicle. Modern LED solutions convert more energy to light so they are cheaper to install, add less weight and cost less to operate,” informs Mark Patrick.
The global automotive lighting market is driven by increasing demand for economy and electric cars across the APAC region. According to a ResearchAndMarkets report, the introduction of LED and laser headlights is one of the primary factors attributing to the development of the exterior lighting segment in the global market. The manufacturers are designing rear lamps with OLED technology to ensure high performance and power efficiency in this segment in the global market. The implementation of stringent government regulations that mandate the usage and adoption of fog lights will revolutionise the automotive lighting market.
Heading for a bright future
While the technology within the LEDs themselves has moved on significantly and the cost has also reduced, challenges remain to be addressed, mostly with the drive electronics that can be expensive and somewhat bulky. “With the focus on improving lighting in automotive applications, while making them more efficient there is enough focus on these challenges that they will certainly be solved. As a result, it is not a question of if LED lighting will become mainstream in automotive applications, but how quickly it will become the preferred solution,” points out Mark Patrick.
As the automotive industry moves towards electric, connected and autonomous vehicles, it will open new opportunities for automotive lighting. In India, factors like high vehicle production volume, growing economy, rising population and changing consumer lifestyles will drive the automotive lighting market in the future.
Modern, innovative and intelligent automotive lighting is a global mega-trend. Increasing technical advances in lighting inspire motorists to seek out the latest innovations. Enhanced performance, improved security, and a memorable design are the focal points of automotive lighting trends and research. Avinder Singh, CEO, Osram India Pvt Ltd
Traditional lightings are notoriously inefficient – they waste fuel (or deplete batteries faster). Modern LED solutions convert more energy to light so they are cheaper to install, add less weight and cost less to operate. Mark Patrick, Supplier & Technical Marketing Manager EMEA, Mouser Electronics
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