Lighting to influence auto interior design

Jun 28, 2012

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting technology will significantly change the look and feel of automotive interiors in years to come, according to Hella, a 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.”

And this could certainly have a positive impact in the aftermarket.

“LED lighting technology provides designers with another important way to add value and improve the overall driving experience,” Wambsganss added. “It’s a key new ingredient in the interior design equation.”

Lighting is not a significant factor in the design of most passenger-car and commercial-vehicle interiors today, but the lighting supplier predicts that the use of ambient LED lighting in North America will more than quadruple over the next five years.

Wambsganss 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 and 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 automakers a variety of design options, including single-color lighting to reinforce brand identity. Moreover, when it comes to customization, adding multiple colors creates “mood” lighting. Because LEDs take up less space and use less energy, they offer weight, energy and packaging benefits, as well.

Specific LED interior lighting applications include multi-color LED modules, RGB (red, green, blue) /LIN control (Local Interconnect Network is a serial network protocol used for communication between components in vehicles with color-control, fabric backlighting that highlights patterns contained within cloth construction, LED overhead consoles and slim-line LED interior lighting. LIN is Local Interconnect Network is a serial network protocol used for communication between components in vehicles.