Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are chipping away at the century-old automotive lighting market in ways that no one foresaw even five years ago.
Many of today's vehicles use LED-based center high-mount stop lamps, headlights, and taillights. But the LED penetration has gone beyond such basics. The new Acura TLX prototype, for example, has a row of LED lights on its mirrors. Cadillac places LEDs on the rear decklid of its CTS sedan. Ford has even put them on the door sill plate of its Mustang. And many other manufacturers use LEDs for daytime running lamps, fog lamps, and for eyebrows above the headlights.
At the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we saw these LEDs firsthand. From pickup trucks to sports cars to luxury sedans, we offer a few of the latest and greatest. Click the Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe below to start the slideshow.
Mercedes-Benz's Concept S-Class Coupe employs LED lighting all around, but nowhere in more striking fashion than in the interior. Mercedes said the blue was chosen to convey a "sporty and modern" look. (Source: Mercedes-Benz)
LED lights uses less power, generates less heat and provide more brightness.. Also, they gives amazing look to your vehicles whether used in front or rear . forklift led lights are efficient , durable and less expensive..
Another sales pitch for the LED headlights is that they use less power. Automobile headlights no matter what type they are must generate 2000 lumens of illumination for the low beam. For this to be the case LED headlights found in luxury automobiles use 35 Watts of energy which is better than the 55 Watts of the halogen headlights but not as good as the 30 Watts of the HID headlights. The power figure for the LED headlights most likely does not include the power needed to run the electronics of the much needed power management unit. Additional power may also be required to run fans for cooling the LEDs in hot climates. Heating fans may also be needed in cold climates to prevent the face of the headlight from freezing up.
@Papa: Yes I also thought its mostly used to make things brighter in appearance. Anyway if there is a saving in energy too in it then its always better to go for it since after all it has the looks as well.
I was under the impression that LED headlights are introduced primarily for styling. But after seeing the 2014 Toyota Corolla mediocre headlights with a 2-stage LED low beam and a halogen lamp high beam I can definitely say that LED headlights are also utilized as sales pitch. It would have been smarter and a lot less expensive for the low beam to use the halogen lamp at a lower voltage. This would have increased the bulb life and lowered its power dissipation.
I was not aware that there were LED headlamps presently on the road. But I am surprised that they would cause objectionable glare, since the LED beam should be simpler to tailor to the required beam shape. The headlamps that really bother me are those high-intensity discharge ones. I would certainly favor a law to forbid their use on all public roads.
And, Charles, I do notice that the LED rear lights do seem to be brighter than the older ones, which I suspect may be due to the light having a narrower spectral range. That increases the apparent brightness for a given intensity. At least that is the explanation that I have been given. What bothers me about the problem is all of the drivers who evidently believe that city driving at low speeds requires headlights that provide a thousand yard visibility. At 25MPH one does not really need to see three or four blocks ahead.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla is probably the only medium size automobile retrofitted with LED headlights. I have rented one of these automobiles for a few days and I would not say that I was impressed with the headlights. They introduced two switch settings for the low beam. In the first setting the headlight brightness is adequate but only for a short distance like 200-300 feet. In the second setting, for longer distances, the brightness is very weak. It appears that most likely due to power and heat constraints it was not possible to have a properly designed low beam much less a high beam. Surprisingly enough for the high beam they used a halogen lamp.
Thanks JHankwitz, both for the work that you do, and for your above comments on LED glare. The introduction of the LEDs, particularly noticed in taillights so far, may cause me to have to give up driving at night completely, even in familiar areas.
I am over 50, but I have always been severely nearsighted, to the extent that my optometrist pats himself on the back each year that he can make a pair of glasses that corrects the vision enough to make me legal. The strength of the prescription means that an awful lot of light is concentrated - so much so that if someone gets me with their high beams, I often must pull over and wait until recovery. The new LED lights are blinding - a couple times on the highway, someone with the new LED taillights has merged closely in front of me, and the rest of the highway goes dim.
C.M. If it wasn't Design News then it must have been one of the other publications. I do read a whole lot of them and participate in several, and have participated in a few more besides that. One of the interesting articles that had some discussion was concerning a method of cooling using a system that had vibrating rods to cause airflow. It is an interesting concept indeed, but it depended on mechanical resonance and also an electronic driver, and that sems a bit more complex than the auto companies would like.
Of course the challenge for any system is that it needs to perform perfectly for ten years in a miserable environment. That is a serious challenge even for a plain extruded aluminum heat sink in an automorive application, because of the oil laden dust that gets picked up. Dirty dusty heat sinks just don't work as well. There is a clear solution but it is neither cheap nor easy.
And it seems that around 8:40PM the DN site had a lack-of-access problem of some kind.
You're right, William K. I don't think Design News has ever held a public discussion on the use on LED heat sinks in automotive. It certainly would make a good technical session. At this point, automakers and LED manufacturers should have accumulated some very good experience on the importance of heat sinking in automotive applications.
Good point, Nancy. I was thinking the same when I read this. More lights and lighting-design displays also means more reasons for drivers to take their eyes off the road. There has to be a limit somewhere.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.