The automotive lighting industry will be worth $36B in 2022

Yole Développement expects the value of the automotive lighting market to increase by almost 40% from $25.7B in 2016 to $35.9B in 2022. More than 100M vehicles will be sold in 2022, but this has only a limited impact on the lighting market. The main reason for lighting growth is that the penetration of light emitting diode (LED) technology is spreading from high-end cars to mid-range and low-end cars.
The propagation of LED and more generally solid state lighting (SSL) technologies will enable the development of new functionalities. For full details, see the Automotive Lighting – Technology, Industry and Market Trends 2017 report that was released in October by Yole Développement.

Since the first full LED headlamp was introduced in 2007, LED technology has gradually penetrated headlamp design. The first enablers were improved LED performance, lower power consumption compared to halogen and high intensity discharge light sources and the flexibility the technology brings to headlamp design. Then, cost reductions helped it spread from high-end vehicles – the first full LED headlamps were introduced in the V10 Audi R8 – to all other categories of vehicles. The reduction of LED technology cost came from standardization of components and modules and optimized design of modules used in headlamps.

Another important reason for proliferation is the differentiation wanted by car manufacturers. Lighting signature achieved with daytime running light (DRL) and rear light designs is now becoming a must-have in developed countries. As a result, automotive lighting is driven by exterior lighting and especially headlamps, which generate more than two-thirds of the total market revenue. Rear lighting is the second largest area, representing 17% of total market revenue. Interior lighting represents almost 10% of revenue but growth is expected to be linked to the development of autonomous vehicles and the creation of vehicles as “living homes”. Other types of lighting, such as fog lamps, Center High Mounted Signal Light (CHMSL) or small lamps, comprised the remaining 7% of revenue in 2016.


(Source: Automotive Lighting – Technology, Industry and Market Trends 2017, Yole Développement, Oct. 2017)

Since the early 2000s there has been strong interest in new automotive front lighting functionality to increase safety and differentiate car manufacturers. The main objective of these advanced front lighting systems (AFLS) is to offer headlamps with beam patterns that adjust automatically to the driving environment according to factors including vehicle speed, oncoming traffic, pedestrians, animals, weather and cut-off lines. The emergence of such systems has only been possible thanks to front cameras that monitor oncoming traffic. Since then, systems have become increasingly complex and require the integration of electronics and software to improve the driver’s visibility at night.

Advanced functionalities can be obtained by associating a camera and a matrix headlamp. The system is able to blank out lights that would dazzle oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead. Other possibilities are dimming lights when traffic signs are detected, marking pedestrians with a spot light or adapting the beam pattern according to external conditions such as weather, speed and road type. The first generation of matrix LED technology had up to 25 vertical segments. The second generation – commercially available in the Mercedes E-class – increases the resolution up to 84 pixels, enabling a more precise light distribution. This is the beginning of the pixel era in automotive lighting and much higher resolution will be achieved at short to medium term.

Future developments will use micro LEDs, laser or even liquid crystal displays (LCDs) as light sources. All these technologies are in development with resolutions ranging from 2,000 pixels to more than 500,000 pixels per headlamp. Car manufacturers and their tier-1, tier-2 or tier-3 manufacturing partners are developing technologies that have never been seen in automotive lighting. Osram has built a package including 1,024 individually controllable light points. Hella and Porsche are using an LCD light source combined with dies embedded in a printed circuit board (PCB). Audi is working on lasers combined with micro mirrors.

These new technologies will offer drivers high visibility. However, because autonomous vehicles are expected in the medium term, the main purpose of lighting will no longer be the best visibility for the driver. The focus will become communication with the car’s environment. This means that the car will need to interact with non-automated cars and pedestrians. The complexity of the information should be low, and the meaning should be unambiguous and clear. High-definition lighting systems are one way to do this, but a lot of research is needed to define the right signal in any situation and increase safety. Afterwards, standardization and even marketing for the new information and safety signals will be necessary. The need for standards and regulation will be essential in the development of autonomous cars.


(Source: Automotive Lighting – Technology, Industry and Market Trends 2017, Yole Développement, Oct. 2017)



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Automotive Lighting: Technology, Industry, and Market Trends 2017

Unexpectedly fast growth combined with technology evolution could reshape the industry – More info

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