In the early 1900s, driving at night was precarious. Lit by kerosene lamps, drivers announced their maneuvers with hand signals and shouts while employing guesswork to predict the actions of the other cars on the road.
With fewer cars moving at slower speeds and dodging the occasional horse and wagon, they got by alright, but we’ve come a long way:
- Advancements from kerosene lamps to Incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic LEDs (OLEDs) have provided more reliable, efficient light sources.
- The number of light sources installed in a vehicle for specific light functions has also increased, from a single bulb to multiple pixelated designs.
- Variable lighting has allowed drivers to better communicate their intentions, making driving safer overall.
- Exterior lighting serves function and form for styling and personalization purposes.
- Electronic lighting control modules enable signaling functions as required by law, but also enable dynamic rather than static signal functions, including personalized welcome messages for drivers, such as a logo on the puddle light.
- As rear-lighting systems become more complex, engineers from the optical, mechanical, electrical and manufacturing disciplines all face new challenges when designing new systems.