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Thread: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    https://www.carlightblog.com/2018/03...ght-prospects/

    From Osram's lighting blog:

    ...Design is currently the driving force behind automotive lighting technology...“Light is the new chrome” – that’s how Süddeutsche Zeitung recently described a trend in the automotive industry...

    ...There are several reasons why lighting developers still often vent their frustration over a glass of beer or wine. The most important one is probably that their work doesn’t involve light itself often enough. Its quality, in other words aspects such as range and homogeneity, enjoys low priority. If anything at all, it’s the color that counts, and there has to be as much blue as possible....

    ...Are “Welcome modes” with bright carpets of light around the car, animated rear lights and similar physiological tripe really a sign of good design? Or even technical expertise?...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    I know a vast number of people who have trained and studied in their field, only to find their "dream job" and find themselves stymied by the constraints of the real world. Good lights (sadly) don't sell cars - good styling does. After all, what percentage of test drives even take place after dark?

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    The engineers usually get asked the very nearly impossible: Make a functional (that is, legal) lamp that fits in THIS SPACE RIGHT HERE and LOOKS LIKE THIS, and they've got to figure out a way to make it work. Finding bulbs hard to change, even on headlamps? Thank the stylists and marketers.

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    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    The new 2019 GMC Sierra pickup truck has LED front lighting styling that veers toward ugly, IMO. It also has the requisite "intimidating" grill that many pickup buyers like. At night, the LED lighting package will also be "intimidating", I assume.

    Some photos of the lighting package here:
    http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2018/03...erra-1500.html

    The front headlamp appears to have 5 functional elements: DRL, low beam, high beam, turn signal, parking lamp. Am I seeing this correctly?
    http://cars.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8345...2dee7b7970c-pi

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Interesting to see a critical article like this on Osram's blog; Osram is sort of "soaking in it" (they supply a lot of those "as blue as possible" LEDs, and I bet the shareholders are perfectly happy with the results).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Another example of fashion over function:

    At the [2019] Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, SLD Laser will unveil the world’s smallest LaserLight headlight concept, measuring just 1.5 centimeters high with low-beam and high-beam functionality, together with a 1.5 millimeter daytime running light. Using the same fiber-based technology, the compactness of these lighting sources inspires new ideas in headlamp designs, which in turn empowers designers to rethink the “eyes” of tomorrow’s vehicles.
    https://www.businesswire.com/news/ho...rLight-Sources

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    Flashaholic* Hilldweller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    I was pleasantly surprised that FCA gave the new Rams adaptive LED headlights (optional upgrade that I'm sure is spendy).
    https://www.ramtrucks.com/2019/ram-2...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    I was pleasantly surprised that FCA gave the new Rams adaptive LED headlights (optional upgrade that I'm sure is spendy).
    Well they don't seem to do that hot in testing, providing good seeing distances but outrageous levels of glare, especially during turns. I'm guessing the adaptive function was a slapdash job as the adaptive function provides only some improvement on curves while increasing glare anywhere from 126% to 1011% over threshold values.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ls400 View Post
    Well they don't seem to do that hot in testing, providing good seeing distances but outrageous levels of glare, especially during turns. I'm guessing the adaptive function was a slapdash job as the adaptive function provides only some improvement on curves while increasing glare anywhere from 126% to 1011% over threshold values.
    No, it was not a slapdash engineering job. It's actually a good lighting package. The truck they tested was badly misaimed for unfortunae reasons having to do with assembly line protocol. The awful rating gave a real whack to the people who should have thought of that before, but it also drives a mistaken public impression like yours, that the headlamps suck, and it means we don't get a realistic evaluation of the system performance when correctly aimed. (there is also a separate problem that definitely exists, where some makers are making the effort to assure proper headlamp aim on new vehicles...until the IIHS test is done and published on a given model. :-(
    Last edited by -Virgil-; 01-17-2019 at 05:18 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
    I was pleasantly surprised that FCA gave the new Rams adaptive LED headlights...
    Too bad they do not "adapt" as a load is placed on the rear..

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    Too bad they do not "adapt" as a load is placed on the rear..
    That is a real bummer (not to mention, a safety failure). The technology exists and isn't expensive.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    it also drives a mistaken public impression like yours, that the headlamps suck, and it means we don't get a realistic evaluation of the system performance when correctly aimed.
    I remember when the IIHS tests first came out, one of the biggest messages bandied by the media was that LED/HID upgrades aren't necessarily upgrades on many vehicles. Testing showed that headlights pretty much universally sucked except for on a certain Prius trim. I remember a lot of talk about how the halogens on the Honda Accord were pretty decent, how BMW 3 series halogens sucked the most among all 31 vehicles and 82 trim levels. Keep in mind this is a layman's impression of the results back in 2016.

    https://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/deskt...ed-improvement

    On another post you note that many of the luxury car LED systems are leaps and bounds ahead of any HID system. I can't help but wonder if the testing steered some consumers away from more expensive HID/LED options. It's not hard to imagine someone reading the IIHS report and deciding NOT to spend an extra few 1000 for HIDs/LEDs because the IIHS appeared to be saying that expensive lighting packages are scams. I mean, why else would BMW, Mercedes, and Audi be outclassed by a lowly Toyota Prius in testing?? And it's not as if the IIHS didn't heavily imply that itself.

    One of the best headlight systems evaluated has none of the new technology. The basic halogen lights on the Honda Accord 4-door earn an acceptable rating, while an LED system with high-beam assist available on the Accord earns only a marginal.
    Curve-adaptive systems don't always lead to better ratings. The Cadillac ATS, Kia Optima and Mercedes-Benz C-Class all earn poor ratings even when equipped with adaptive low and high beams.
    Among the 44 headlight systems earning a poor rating, the halogen lights on the BMW 3 series are the worst. [...]A better choice for the same car is an LED curve-adaptive system with high-beam assist, a combination that rates marginal.
    I can see why the IIHS might have presented its results as such. I mean, how better to motivate change than to come out and tell consumers that the expensive, and likely profitable, option packages with LEDs/HIDs were not technically better or barely better than the standard ugly decades-old yellow halogens lights? Hit 'em in the moneymaker. At the same time, I wonder if their distorted message has had a detrimental effect on vehicle safety by steering consumers away from HIDs/LEDs on luxury vehicles, which, as you've noted, are generally excellent when aimed. If you asked me in 2016 after the IIHS report dropped whether I would spend an extra $1000 or more for HIDs/LEDs on a luxury vehicle, I would be somewhat reluctant. I mean, hey, I love how BLUE they are, but they don't do so hot in testing!

    At the same time, I can sort of understand why the IIHS might have presented its results the way it did--how else to make a BIG splash in the media than to throne the Prius (of all vehicles) as king and denounce German lights as way inferior? I'm curious--if you were boss at the IIHS, how would you have presented the results?

    some makers are making the effort to assure proper headlamp aim on new vehicles...until the IIHS test is done and published on a given model. :-(
    Well I'm confident that this problem will be addressed sometime in the next few years. The IIHS noted that many manufacturers were only making structural changes on one side of their vehicles to pass a recently introduced crash test, so the IIHS started testing both sides of the vehicle and embarrassed quite a few manufacturers. It's not too much of a stretch to see the IIHS spot checking vehicles of the same generation--perhaps test a 2019 model and later test a 2022 model.
    Last edited by Ls400; 01-20-2019 at 11:54 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Yeah I would bet that the overwhelming majority of people who read any of the news articles about the IIHS test got the wrong impression. Would have been helpful if they would have noted that the results could change drastically after the lights were properly aimed.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Y'know, that's really a good point. If I understand correctly, IIHS does check the aim, they just don't adjust it at all. So would it really be so hard for them to flag poorly-aimed cars as such in the results?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fashion Over Function, for OE Lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magio View Post
    Yeah I would bet that the overwhelming majority of people who read any of the news articles about the IIHS test got the wrong impression.
    It's not just news outlets. Even the reports from the IIHS itself pretty much obscured the fact that proper aiming would change a lot. I mean, I remember there being a sentence or two about how better aiming would lead to much better results, but the rest of the reports from the IIHS completely eviscerated headlamps on a lot of vehicles and the overwhelming, indelible impression left on me (and likely others) is that a lot of lighting packages are scams.

    Quote Originally Posted by -Virgil- View Post
    Y'know, that's really a good point. If I understand correctly, IIHS does check the aim, they just don't adjust it at all. So would it really be so hard for them to flag poorly-aimed cars as such in the results?
    And again I can't help but wonder if the results were presented in this way intentionally for, um, "shock value." BMW sucks! Mercedes sucks! Audi sucks! Prius rules! Whatever their intentions were, the reports definitely lit a fire under companies to take actual action in improving aim, unlike Consumer Reports' long-running headlamp tests...that's for sure.

    I was talking to a vehicle design engineer and he said something about how the IIHS loves flash, so to speak. The IIHS has no actual regulatory power. All it can do is capture the mind of the consumer. The crash tests were pretty much developed to cause maximum structural damage. How better to market your results than to show pictures of completely wrecked cars? Structural damage is one thing, but so are occupant kinematics. The 40% frontal overlap test by the IIHS caused a lot of devastating structural failures with crash dummies trapped between seats and steering wheels when it first came out, but the NHTSA's 100% frontal overlap test is actually arguably the tougher test, since there's much higher deceleration in the NHTSA test, unlike in the IIHS test, where the vehicle is free to rotate around the barrier. The higher deceleration in the NHTSA test puts much more strain on the restraint systems and tests how well the structure manages the crash pulse. And the new 25% overlap test? Devastating, at least structurally. Lots of dramatic shots of dummies with their legs mangled and the door frame distorted or even the door completely ripped off. The side impact test? Centered over the B-pillar to cause MAXIMUM structural intrusion, but a report (by the IIHS itself) found that the #1 way to improve the side impact test isn't to make the admittedly light and slow crash cart (~3100 pounds at 31 MPH) heavier and/or faster, as one might surmise. The #1 way would be to actually OFFSET the crash cart with regard to the vehicle--i.e. impact the front or rear quarter panels more. This would be the #1 way to make the rest more helpful in reducing occupant deaths. But there would be fewer dramatic pictures of crash dummies sitting in crashed cars with B-pillars caved in so far as to reach the far-side of their torso.
    Last edited by Ls400; 01-21-2019 at 10:14 PM.

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