Issue: Jun 2007


New Lighting and Sensing Technologies



by Nick Palmen

With an Array of Lighting and Sensing Technologies, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is Working to Make Vehicles and Streets Safer

In the last five years, Active Safety has become a hot topic in the automotive sector as automakers and suppliers strive to develop technologies that not only make vehicles safer but help them avoid accidents altogether.

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Inc., supports the drive for active safety with a variety of lighting and sensing technologies that alert drivers to dangerous situations inside and outside a moving vehicle.

Renowned for its Light Emitting Diodes (LED) products, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is also a leader in the field of photonics - the study and application of electromagnetic energy whose basic unit is the photon, incorporating optics, laser technology, electrical engineering, materials science and information storage and processing.

This expertise has enabled OSRAM to collaborate on a number of present and future active safety innovations, including:

-- Adaptive front lighting
-- Near-infrared (NIR) night vision
-- Blind spot sensing
-- Heads-up displays
-- Lane departure warning devices
-- Pedestrian protection and pre-crash sensing systems
-- Drowsy driver sensing systems


"All of these safety advances rely, in one way or another, on sensing, illumination and visualization," said Sevugan Nagappan, marketing manager for infrared/laser products at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Inc. "These attributes are core to our automotive product offerings, explaining why we've been asked to help develop so many of these vitally important technologies." Nagappan said the area of Active Safety is in a growth mode, whereas Passive Safety (seat belts, airbags, crumple zone, etc.) advances have peaked.

"In 2006, most of the vehicles in the market had a five-star safety rating, indicating that advancements in Passive Safety have reached a saturation level," Nagappan added. "Incremental improvements in Passive Safety will not lead to significant advances in overall safety of the vehicle. Additional life-saving potential is in Active Safety, buoyed by advancements in electronics and semiconductor technology."

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