OLLO Group
News

Brightest auto head lights

Multi-LED headlights that use cameras to direct their beams with unprecedented accuracy are among the advanced projects supplier Varroc Lighting Systems is developing at its suburban Detroit headquarters.

“Very little changed in automotive lighting for a century, but the last 10 years have seen lots of exciting new technology,” says Scott Montesi, Varroc director of business and product development.

Varroc got its start in 1879 making lanterns for horse-drawn carriages. Varroc Lighting became part of Ford’s Visteon components group, before Indian supplier Varroc Group bought it in 2012. The lighting group now accounts for nearly 60 percent of the privately held supplier’s $1.3 billion annual sales. Varroc Lighting has engineering and management in Michigan, tech centers in Germany and the Czech Republic and eight manufacturing sites in low-wage countries including Mexico, China, India and the Czech Republic.

The company’s current focus is taking advanced lighting technologies, like the adaptive multi-LED front lighting module, and reducing its cost so it can be used in mainstream models as well as luxury cars.

Automakers increasingly use lights to distinguish their cars visually, like the vertical rows of head and tail lights that make cars immediately identifiable. New technologies like LEDs also allow lights to shine brighter and farther, increasing safety.

Varroc is focused on two new technologies:

• Arrays of LEDs that use reflectors to produce better, smarter headlights and distinctive running and brake lights. The LEDs also allow owners to customize their lights for a unique look when they approach the car in a parking lot, or when it starts.

• Lasers that can double headlight range to more than 600 yards in a small package that gives designers more freedom.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration is evaluating the LED arrays, which are already on the road in a small number of European luxury cars. Montesi hopes for approval in 2018. The lights might be on American roads a year or two after that.

Varroc calls the system Pixel Lamp, and it should be in production in Europe shortly.

Pixel Lamp keeps the high beams on at all times, but shuts off individual LEDs to keep the lights out of the eyes of drivers in other vehicles. It used 18 LEDs, but Varroc says production systems could have three to 50 LEDs.

The lights smoothly shift so the road remains very brightly illuminated but other drivers are not dazzled.

The headlights from oncoming vehicles light the road immediately in front of them, so the shifting LEDs do not create dark spots where you can’t see.

The system will debut on a luxury model, but Montesi thinks Varroc can bring its cost down to the level of conventional HID systems, making it affordable for compact and subcompact cars.


Selina
Nina
Selina
Nina
TOP