Autonomous driving

Autonomous driving from the light manufacturers point of view

On of the biggest questions is: “How will the role of light change when the car is driving itself?” This question hasn´t been answered yet. We are already concentrating on the future of light.
Due to this reasons we showed at the IAA 2017 our thougts about the future role of light. Have a look at our USE-CASE-MOVIES regarding this topic:

All road users can see where the vehicle is going and what it is planning to do.

After a relaxed day with friends at the lake, you are cycling home after darkness has fallen. The path home runs through open land, is nicely paved, but poorly lighted and is a potential source of danger for you. If you would come across a self-driving car, thanks to the lighting signals emitted by the car, you could see the direction of travel and especially the route guidance of the car and react accordingly. Without these guiding light signals on the ground, you would only know from the blinder that the car is turning. That’s how it works nowadays. You could only guess the path it is taking.

Simplifies identifying a “car sharing” car when multiple vehicles are waiting for pick up and look all the same.

Just imagine: You are in the office far past midnight and are completely overtired. Your trip home is a half-hour ride with the car, and there is no public transport nearby. Your choice falls on one of the comfortable and always-available “urban cabs”. These are self-driving cars you can use for a few hours a month with your membership. Route, pickup time and location are quickly entered online, and your vehicle is ready immediately after booking. To be able to identify which car is reserved for you, you have to look at the light projected on the ground. This marks the car you ordered. Then there’s nothing standing in the way of a relaxed drive home. At the end of the drive, a light notifies you to exit and says goodbye.

Automated cars let pedestrians know that they have been recognized through the projection of a zebra crossing on the road, and that they can safely cross the street.

Reading the newspaper, surfing on your smart phone and writing messages, chatting with other people and crossing the street mindlessly without forethought or visual contact. Numerous accidents are caused by exactly that. Light and sensors will be used in the future for this. You step off of the curb onto the street and the automated car recognizes this immediately and stops. In addition, the car will project a zebra crossing with a beam of light on the street to signal that the street can be crossed. The lighting solution of the future will also project a red stop line on the oncoming lane so that oncoming traffic knows that you want to cross the street.

Influence on pedestrians and analog road users is significantly reduced through the selective reduction of the light intensity to a defined level.

Actually, this is already a reality. We aren’t blinding anyone anymore with modern headlamps that we already develop and produce. Our product portfolio includes matrix headlamps, laser headlamps or fully adaptive LED lighting solutions. Everything is brightly illuminated and there can be easy targeted dipping as needed. Self-driving cars will not need high beams in the future, because no one will be blinded again. This technology must be continually developed for people who want to control a car themselves. Looking at it that way, future, present and past are always closely linked.

Maximum safety through the display of the safety distance necessary for various braking paths, depending on driving behavior and the traffic situation.

When cars drive themselves, we’ll hardly notice where we are and which route we are currently on. All functions are controlled automatically. But excluded from this is the physics that do not want to bend to the new age. Everyone knows the formula: Stop path = Reaction path + brake path. One can assume that the reaction path will reduced considerably, because the sensors brake simultaneously with the preceding vehicle. The brake path does not depend on the speed, however. Physical influences such as a wet road or tire pressure must also be taken into consideration. To know whether our automated car has a sufficient safety distance, the preceding vehicle, depending on braking intensity, can display a distance strip or a safety zone on the road.

Increasing efficiency by reducing light performance in unneeded situations without losing the relevant signaling in necessary situations.

Did you already notice that the starry sky disappears in cities? Astronomers first noted the dark side of the light-flooded cities. The observation capabilities of observatories near large cities were limited by the flood of light in recent decades. Today, observatories have to be on high peaks, far from metropoles and protected from light contamination. These “light bells” over urban areas can span hundreds of kilometers. If you want to experience and observe the Milky Way, shooting stars or comets, it’s only possible far from the cities. For this reason, we are presenting a scenario in which light only plays a role in certain situations during automated driving. If you are in a self-driving car on open land or in a natural setting, you aren’t creating any light contamination, because you are hardly emitting any light. The vehicle only starts to brighten the contours with the “marking light” when you need to be seen. This results in a saving of energy even during cross-country driving.

Recognizing “connected” vehicles by a surrounding closed circle. The safe travel of vehicles not included in the convoy can be ensured with light corridors.

Personal and heavy vehicles can drive very close to each other, completely autonomously and interlinked. Theoretically, truck convoys can be many hundred meters long. Convoys can save fuel through the slipstream, through the logistics of goods staff costs can be saved and certain goods can even become less expensive. The right lane on the motorway could become an automated convoy of trucks. When entering the motorway, the acceleration strips become too short very quickly if the convoy of trucks seems to be endless. Light can help in this situation. As soon as the trucks recognize that another vehicle wants to use the roadway, it can open a window and the light shows the other vehicle that it can pass the convoy and enter traffic.

Safe zones around the car and other road users are displayed visible to all on the road and are adapted depending on speed.

A family is taking a cycling excursion on a beautiful autumn day. The parents and children are riding in a convoy. Children, even though they are usually very disciplined, can often act very erratic in street traffic. It is not possible for them to estimate possible distances and speeds of objects coming towards them, as adults do. Light can help here too. With pools of light around the vehicle, the safe zone and distance are marked to counter the danger. Even if the car passes the entire family, the pool of light gives a feeling of security.

The sensors in the headlamps ensure safe driving. Additional light markings can display safe distances.

Because you are engrossed in an exciting book, the outside world passes you by unnoticed. You are in your car and have pressed the “Home” button out of the corner of your eye. Shortly thereafter, you are again submersed in your novel. You are completely relying on the sensors, technology and conveniences that come with automated driving. But not every road user can do this to the same extent. The e-bike user in the adjacent lane must also rely on the sensors of the automated vehicle, but in another way. He only sees the light signals and markings directly on or around the car that show him which movements the car will undertake in the coming moment. Light acts here as a communication medium, it can prevent collisions and make the world a little bit safer.

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