Lighting is now major selling point for car makers

Paul Boughton

Optis, a leading software developer for the scientific simulation of light, human vision and physically correct visualisation, has announced that lighting has become a major selling point for car makers; today, a head or tail lamp has become a signature feature of a car, setting it apart from the rest, in fact sometimes a headlamp is the most distinctive and recognisable element of a car exterior.

By designing and integrating lighting elements in a vehicle interior, both functional and ambient lighting increase a driver’s perceived safety and quality of the car. The goal is also to optimise visual comfort and driver safety because a driver’s vision can be disturbed not only by glare from oncoming vehicles, but also from interior light sources such as LEDs, and also mirrors, displays and reflections. In the past decade the number of light sources in car interiors has drastically increased, up to a current maximum of about 25 LEDs, although this is likely to rise further. As such, innovative new lighting designs are ever more important.

Many new products are released each year: LED-based headlamps, tail lamps, turn indicators, ambient lamps and signal lamps; many new materials, optics and light sources are now being used. Lots of factors are leading designers to create innovative, optimised sources. Light sources need to be smaller, and to consume less energy, but they also need to be brighter, and more accurate.

Automotive manufacturers are under constant pressure to deliver new vehicles in less time and at lower cost.

Optis’ award-winning solutions enable designers and engineers to analyse, optimise, test and validate the lighting performance and legal compliance of future vehicles while increasing design productivity.

A key feature of Optis software is the ability to simulate human vision, enabling to visualise the product as it will be seen in its ultimate environment, both lit and unlit and in any given weather conditions, day and night.

In doing so, virtual prototypes can be improved and multiplied. Thus the positions of these lighting elements, their intensity, the choice of on-board materials and sources can be simulated and optimised.

Optis software helps automotive OEMs design exterior and interior lighting. The company’s simulation software measure optical properties and bring high-value and unequalled realism to visualisations of car exteriors as well as interiors and fit and finish.

Optis products also help in meeting the demands of potential problems for driver visual comfort and safety in the form of unwanted reflections, glare and visual impairment. Drivers, perceive and interpret visual data and make critical decisions based on what they see, so designing their Human Machine Interfaces poses specific challenges. The company’s simulation results show how dashboard instrumentation and GPS screens will be perceived depending on environment and time of day.

Optis software allows manufacturers to model and optimise lighting performance, and simulate the head-up displays (HUDs) as they will really be seen in the driving environment. So surroundings and outdoor lighting, as well as glare from oncoming headlights or sun can be taken into account.

The company's advanced visual ergonomics tools to calculate the probability that information displayed on an HUD will be both visible and readable, enabling clients to optimise parameters.

These simulation and visualisation solutions enable automotive OEMs to review and revise designs collaboratively, locally or remotely.