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Thread: What happened to distributive lighting systems?

  1. #1

    Default What happened to distributive lighting systems?

    If my Google skills are up to par, it appears that there are exactly 0 mentions of distributed lighting systems for vehicles on this forum, ever. Not even Wikipedia mentions distributed lighting in the context of vehicle lighting.

    It appears that in the 90s, with the advent of vehicle HID bulbs, distributed lighting was considered. I don't have access to SAE papers like this one,, but it seems like a promising technology, with stuff like this in the various abstracts to papers about distributed lighting:

    Enough light is generated by one HID to power a red stop, an amber turn, and a white backup with light left over to power functions in the interior.
    So, what happened to distributed lighting systems? Why aren't there cars with a few centrally located HID bulbs instead of what we get today, which are cars with like a dozen bulbs of different types? Is the technology dead in the water, or is it still being actively studied?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What happened to distributive lighting systems?

    It was considered...and then discarded as impractical and not cost-effective. Then along came LEDs and rendered distributive lighting systems conceptually obsolete.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What happened to distributive lighting systems?

    It's interesting to see that the SAE standard ( was actually worked on between 2002 and 2011, and then the activity flatlined. I guess that people finally let the idea go around 2011? I guess that makes sense, given that LEDs in forward vehicle lighting applications started hitting the mainstream shortly afterward.

    And by "it was considered," I'm curious: was it ever seriously considered, or it was one of those pie-in-the-sky ideas that just a few people worked on? When the idea first came out, were most people thinking "no, that's never going to work in a million years" or was the prevailing opinion more optimistic?
    Last edited by Ls400; 12-01-2019 at 04:49 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What happened to distributive lighting systems?

    It was "reaffirmed" in 2007 (which means it came up for its 5-year review and was not changed from its 2002 version).

    It was "stabilized" in 2011 (which means it will no longer come up for 5-year reviews or be updated).

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