LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting technology will significantly change the look and feel of automotive interiors in years to come, according to HELLA, a leading global supplier of automotive lighting and electronic systems.
“Ambient LED lighting will open an entirely new chapter in automotive interior design,” said Dr. Herbert Wambsganss, director of engineering, HELLA Interior Lighting Systems. “Drivers will see significant changes in automotive interior lighting within the next five years — changes that will improve comfort levels and enhance brand awareness.”
Lighting is not a significant factor in the design of most passenger-car and commercial-vehicle interiors today, but HELLA predicts that the use of ambient LED lighting in North America will more than quadruple over the next five years.
“LED lighting technology provides designers with another important way to add value and improve the overall driving experience,” the HELLA executive pointed out. “It’s a key new ingredient in the interior design equation.”
He reported that research conducted by HELLA in conjunction with Hamburg University in Germany showed that different colors had a significant impact on both driver and passenger emotions and comfort levels.
Drivers today spend an average of up to four hours a day in their cars or light trucks, while commercial-vehicle owners spend even more time on the road. LED lighting technology opens up a wide variety of opportunities for auto makers to strengthen brand awareness with new interior design features, while improving customer satisfaction levels at the same time.
Wambsganss pointed out that LEDs offer auto makers a variety of design options, including single-color lighting to reinforce brand identity and multiple colors to customize and create “mood” lighting. Because LEDs take up less space and use less energy, they offer weight, energy and packaging benefits as well.
Different colors have been found to provide a range of emotional responses such as excitement and feelings of calm, which in turn has generated interest in RGB (Red-Green-Blue) technology for use in automotive interiors, Wambsganss said, adding that RGB technology is becoming increasingly popular for interior lighting applications, providing an almost infinite number of choices within a wide color spectrum by the controlled blending of the three primary LED colors.
HELLA’s RGB/LIN technology achieves exact color and intensity control with HELLA’s proprietary LED module calibration, promoting perfect harmony throughout a vehicle’s interior. In addition, the company’s technology allows designers to place unique colors at specific locations throughout a car’s interior to further extend brand-design themes.
Specific LED interior lighting applications offered by HELLA include multi-color LED modules, RGB/LIN control with color-control, fabric backlighting that highlights patterns contained within cloth construction, LED overhead consoles and slim-line LED interior lighting.
Because of its expertise in both lighting and electronics and extensive application experience with vehicles of all types and sizes, including heavy-duty commercial trucks, HELLA also has the capability to design and manufacture control modules that enable the integration of ambient lighting systems within a vehicle’s electronic architecture.
The company has more than 10 years of experience in the development and production of ambient lighting for automotive and commercial-vehicle interiors dating back to its introduction of LED and light-guide technology in 2001.
HELLA provides application engineering support for its interior-lighting customers at product development centers in Plymouth, Mich., and Guadalajara, Mexico. Its production facilities in Mexico will support a growing demand for interior-lighting products throughout the Americas.
“Increased customer interest in ambient lighting will further strengthen our position as a leading supplier of automotive lighting throughout the Americas,” Wambsganss concluded. “LED lighting technology gives designers another important way to further establish brand awareness, add value and improve the overall driving experience.”
About HELLA: HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co. develops and manufactures lighting and electronics components and systems for the automotive industry. Its joint venture companies also produce complete vehicle modules, air-conditioning systems and vehicle electric systems. In addition, HELLA has one of the largest automotive aftermarket organizations in the world, with its own sales companies and partners in more than 100 countries.
HELLA Group sales were $6.09 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011. The company is one of the top 50 automotive parts suppliers in the world and one of the 100 largest industrial companies in Germany. Nearly 25,000 people work at 70 locations in more than 30 countries, including more than 3,800 research-and-development engineers and technicians. Additional information is available at www.HELLA.com.