Ambient light goes functional

Ambient light goes functional


Intelligent lighting systems enable a variety of new functions and scenarios. An article written by our expert Markus Daubner.

Ambient lighting has been evolving  and enriching the interior of the vehicles in recent years, providing more and more functionalities, far beyond a mere decorative effect. Today lighting has become a fundamental element in the interior of the vehicle that and plays a crucial role in the way in which the vehicle and the user communicate and interact between them and with the environment

The evolution of vehicle interior lighting has gone hand in hand with the technology implemented in these solutions as you can see in the following graph.

Back in 2011, the Audi A8 was the first series vehicle that Grupo Antolín equipped with multi-color lighting, combining it with the novel use, at that time, of “long” light guides of up to 120cm.

Two years later, the Mercedes S-Class equipped from 25 up to 44 LED modules inside the vehicle depending on the version, which, together with the ability to perform color-mixing with 3 LEDs, made it possible to have a color palette and functionalities not known so far.

A few years later the next notable evolution was the use of LIN-RGB technology for the LED modules. In the BMW 7 series it was equipped, in addition to this technology that allowed the control of the modules by LIN, contour light and crossed light guides (X) which allowed to maintain the quality and the light intensity in long light guides.

The next version of the A8 (D5) introduced the novelty of the use of the warning light as well as the first experience in the use of contour lines with 2K chrome plating.

Finally, the next notable novelty in this sequence came with the introduction of surface lighting, as in the Mini or the VW Touareg.

Mini Cooper Lighting in Instrument Panel

From here on, the leap to truly functional lighting has been the natural evolution of ambient lighting, where it no longer performs a merely decorative task but responds to a need to improve safety and the communication of passengers with the vehicle. In this line we find examples such as the ID Light that VW is already implementing in its electric vehicles such as the ID line.

Technological Challenge

This new functional lighting demands a series of technical requirements that are not obvious. For example, the brightness requirements for functional lighting in a daytime design are in the order of 1250 cd / m2 while for normal ambient lighting they would be in the order of 3 - 6 cd / m2 for indirect light. and of the order of 15 cd / m2 for the case of direct light (contour light)

Additionally, for functional lighting there is an additional requirement, such as the ability to offer a wide range of intensity, from very low values, below 1cd / m2 to the highest values such as 1250cd / m2, with the complexity that this requirement entails in system design level.

Finally, these functional lighting systems require the use of LED modules and much more complex control electronics than those required for traditional ambient lighting, which makes the system more complicated and robust at the same time. The appearance of technologies such as Smart LEDs, of which ISELED is a reference, makes it possible to have dynamic effects not available until now on the market and opens up a new range of possibilities for functional lighting in the immediate future.

Grupo Antolin has been a benchmark for years in the development of innovative solutions in the field of vehicle interiors and more specifically in vehicle lighting. We are relevant in the evolution of technology and in accompanying our clients in the journey of transforming lighting into a central element in the design of new models.



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