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Advancing vehicle lighting

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Holographic technology becomes a hot concept in vehicle lighting

Hella claims a new design for holographic lighting – developed in conjunction with Covestro, one of the world’s largest polymer manufacturers – is set to revolutionise vehicle lighting.

Since 2012, the companies have been pooling their expertise in the areas of plastics technology, as well as design and lighting, in order to use signal lighting as a styling element.

And, since 2015, the companies have collaborated on developing innovative designs for the front and rear lighting. The result is holographic lighting that incorporates 3D effects and which is said to be seamless and aerodynamically efficient, eminently suitable for series production of a variety of motor vehicles.

A show car demonstrating the fruits of the companies’ labours was unveiled recently in Germany at the K Trade Fair, an expo for the plastics and rubber industry. The rear of the vehicle featured a lamp with three parts, each equipped with holographic technology.

Designers at Hella developed the holograms before Covestro incorporated them into a transparent holographic film which was then laminated onto a 3mm thick glass plate. Hella spokesmen pointed out that for series application, plastic would be used instead of glass.

“Holographic films are perfectly suited for integrating different lighting functions into the body of a vehicle in a space-saving and unobtrusive way,” said Dr Michael Kleinkes, Head of Development Lighting Technology at Hella. “The installation depth can be reduced and automotive manufacturers have the opportunity to install more compact lamps.”

On the show car, the rear holographic film was illuminated from behind using LED light sources and reflectors, creating a 3D effect – as if the elements were floating freely in space.

The central section incorporated Hella and Covestro logos, while the outer sections contained numerous illuminating areas, called flakes.

Using dual coloured LEDS, stop lights were combined with the direction indicators using a diffuser film with diffractive optics developed by Covestro, the aim being to ensure uniform distribution of light with minimal loss of intensity.

Functions were also animated, meaning that the effect of a sequential turn signal, for instance, could be emphasised.

At the front of the car, a seamless, uniform surface was created to house an EdgeLight design spanning the width of the vehicle. Using LEDs and Hella’s matrix HD84 lighting module, the design incorporated indicators, daytime running lights, low and high beams and a central positioning light signature, welcome lights and a host of other functions.

Kleinkes said that since the lighting combination complied with statutory regulations, it would be possible to implement the design immediately in series applications.

He said advantages of the system were numerous, not only in terms of styling, energy saving and safety, but also in terms of possibilities created by animation.

“When braking, for example, it is possible to illuminate not only the stop lamps, but also to show an additional indicator, such as the word STOP spelt out.”


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