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Low-cost LED headlamp system for increased safety, efficiency and sustainability in automotive lighting

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LEDHEAD (Low-cost LED headlamp system for increased safety, efficiency and sustainability in automotive lighting)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-04-30

LEDs are still rarely used in headlamps, even though it represents the single largest market opportunity within automotive lighting. One of the major reasons for this apparent paradox is the cost for the automakers to implement them at a price the consumer is willing to pay. This is because highly complex; therefore expensive, optical systems must be used for LED headlamps to conform to requirements and regulations. The task of the optical system of a headlamp is to collect as much as possible of the luminous flux (quantity of light) emitted by the light source, to shape the beam of light and to direct it, within the bounds defined by the legal regulations, to the road-space areas where it is needed. Optical efficiency of conventional headlamp systems ranges from ca. 30 – 50%, this means that most of the light emitted by the light source is “lost”, i.e. not utilised to form an effective light beam on the road. If the optical efficiency of optical device is low, more LEDs are needed to comply with the regulation, resulting in increased overall system price. This makes current LED headlamp technology commercialy viable only in high-end vehicles. This is unfortunate as besides being more cost- and energy efficient during their life-cycle, LED headlamps provide a better range of vision as well, increasing road safety.

Hungaro Lux Light is developing is a novel optical system for motor vehicle headlamps, designed specifically for LED light sources. Our solution uses only refractive elements, resulting in better optical efficiency and far lower manufacturing costs than current solutions, making LED headlamps economically feasible across all vehicle classes. Our ultimate objective is to successfully commercialise low-cost LED headlamps based on the LEDHEAD optical system. Bringing these headlamps to the more price sensitive segments will speed up adoption of LED lighting in the automotive sector. This will in turn contribute to the reduced negative impact on the environment and increased road safety.
Our overall objective with the SME Instrument project (Phase 1 + Phase 2) is to bring to the market the LEDHEAD LED headlamp technology. Our main result with the current Phase 1 project was that we revised and improved our technological and business strategy before proceeding with the next phase of our development.
The outcome of the Phase 1 project is a comprehensive Feasibility Study including a Strategic Business Plan with the following specific results:
1) Improved market assessment of the targeted segments, including a thorough assessment of the end-user preferences and interests of manufacturers and other key stakeholders, such as suppliers or regulators in each segment.
2) Identified partnership opportunities: We have identified partners for collaboration that have the necessary expertise and resources to contribute to our technological and commercial objectives.
3) Better understanding of technological requirements: The successful development of LEDHEAD required a thorough assessment of technological requirements; with emphasis on production technology and materials. The results of the assessment is a long-term technological roadmap for the entire development process and a short-term work plan for the next phase of the development.
Our objective from the outset of our development was to achieve a system that can be manufactured at a low cost, while having high optical efficiency and meeting the requirements of relevant regulations. The compact size and the low weight of our optical system is an additional advantage over conventional systems.

The beneficial impact of the LEDHEAD project is that it enables the accelerated market take-up of LED headlamp technology in price-sensitive vehicle segments by providing a low cost alternative. Thereby, the environmental, safety and economic advantages of LED lighting emerge quicker and with a wider scope.

Specifically, LEDHEAD contributes to addressing the challenges of safe and sustainable mobility:
• Improved road safety: Since LED sources contain more relative energy in the short wavelength region of the visible spectrum, it has been shown that they provide a benefit to off-axis visual performance over halogen and HID lamps. Road safety can be further improved by intelligent headlight solutions enabled by LED technology.
• Reduced environmental impact Energy saving, lower CO2 emissions. LEDs have better power efficiency, thereby resulting in energy saving and lower CO2 emissions. They also have significantly longer lifecycles.
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