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Automotive lighting is facing unexpectedly fast growth, combined with a technology revolution that will reshape the industry. In its recent report, Automotive Lighting – Technology, Industry and Market Trends 2017, released in October, Yole Développement forecasts that the value of the automotive lighting market will increase by almost 40% from $25.7B in 2016 to $35.9B in 2022.

Yole Développement had the opportunity to discuss the automotive lighting market’s prospects with Paul Henri Matha, Lighting Expert for Renault. Read on for the discussion, which covers the company’s position in the industry, new developments and outlook on the market, as well as global industry trends.

Yole Automotive lighting market size 2016 2022


Yole Développement: Can you please introduce yourself and your activities within Renault?
Paul Henri Matha: My name is Paul Henri Matha. I graduated from Ecole des Mines in Saint Etienne in 2000 and I have been working in Renault’s lighting department for more than 15 years. After several positions in lighting as project leader, pre-development and innovation team leader, and general manager of Dacia’s lighting team in Romania, I have been Renault’s lighting expert for two years.

YD: What are the main changes that you have observed in automotive lighting since LED technology has been used?
PHM: Lighting is now the signature card for all our designers. Shapes can be smaller and designers can create signatures with light by day, with daytime running lights, and by night with low-beam, front and rear position lights.
Lighting is also now an electronic part. More than 50% of the price of a lighting part is now electronic. Software is developing rapidly and we need new skills to develop these features. The number of hours for the development of one headlamp or one rear lamp has multiplied by three in ten years – you need three people instead of one ten years ago.

Renault led low beam


(Source: Renault Group)

YD: What challenges do LEDs need to overcome to reach wide adoption?
PHM: The lumen-to-cost ratio must be reduced, not only for the LED itself but for the complete system including LED, PCB, LED driver and heatsink. Today the LED itself represents less than 5% of the price of a headlamp. It is not the main cost.
Thermal efficiency is the main roadblock, according to me. So the best thing would be to increase the number of photons produced, and to decrease the thermal dissipation.

YD: How will the electronics architecture for headlamps evolve?
PHM: Local interconnect network (LIN) and controller area network (CAN) communication are now the standards for intelligent features like Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB)/matrix beam or advanced front lighting systems (AFS). For the high-definition lighting that is coming, using digital micromirror devices (DMDs) or liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, CAN will not be enough. We will need CAN with flexible data rate (CAN-FD), FlexRay or Ethernet to boost the connection between our lighting computer and the LED controllers.

YD: What will the future trends in automotive lighting be?
PHM: We see three main topics: efficiency, including wattage reduction and standardization, attractiveness, providing the Renault signature by day and by night, and intelligence, through pixel beams, with fine resolution between 0.3° and 0.01°. These three topics are linked, but not really compatible. For example, pixel beams need a lot of power. Therefore, each car maker must find its best “center of gravity” between these three parameters.

YD: What impacts are these developments having on the value chain?
PHM: We can see that we now have two focuses in a headlamp and/or rearlamp, the optical system and the electronics. A good company will have both skills. A company with only one will die. Ten years ago it was not like that, electronics companies like LG and Samsung were not in the field.
A carmaker can work directly with tier two or tier three component manufacturers if it has found a new concept. We work a lot with start-ups, like autonomous driving teams. We work like that to test concepts, to innovate and to think outside the box. But sometimes our tier one suppliers would like to limit carmakers to the technology they have developed.

YD: How will headlamps evolve in relation to the development of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technology and the goal of the autonomous vehicle?
PHM: ADAS technology requires a lot of sensors. The camera will remain one of the main sensors, detecting and confirming what is seen. By night, this camera needs lighting. So lighting is not dead, as people sometimes say.
Signalling during the autonomous mode is also an important topic and lighting can play a very big role. This includes communication to the pedestrian, for example, or communication with other vehicles.
Car makers and tier one suppliers are working together to offer revisions to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) regulation 48. Today there is no possibility to add new features to vehicles, other than daytime running lights (DRL), position lights, and low beam turn indicators. The ‘Groupe de Travail Bruxelles 1952’ has created a special strategic working group this year to work on this topic. Dr Huhn from Audi is the chairman and I am the co-chairman with Dr Neumann from Varroc.

YD: What do you expect from automotive lighting in the next five years?
There is a new worldwide harmonized light vehicle test procedure (WLTP) cycle and CO2 emissions for car makers are limited to 95g per kilometer, or they face penalties. Lighting must therefore participate in reducing CO2 emissions. This is new for us, and we have to think about how to contribute. That may involve more efficient solutions for optical systems, especially light guides, and more efficient solutions for the DC/DC driver, and more LEDs and fewer bulb solutions. For that, LED modules must be cheaper. That includes the LEDs themselves, thermal management systems, printed circuit boards (PCBs), both insulated metal substrates and FR4 and heatsinks. Thermal resistance of the LED must also improve.

renault article auto lighting 1

(Source: Renault Group)

Renault will continue to propose new LED solutions, with the intention of deploying it in different cars like we have done for the first generation of full LED headlamps, which can be found on the Espace, scenic, Kadjar, koleos and Megane. Democratization of LED matrix or pixel lamps must be linked with democratization of the price of these features. Today they are really good solutions for safety by night, but the price – between 1500€ and 2000€ on Audi cars – limits them to premium models.

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PH Matha portraitPaul-Henri Matha is Lighting Expert at Renault
Graduated from l'Ecolde des Mines of Saint-Etienne, Paul-Henri Matha has more than 15 years of experience in lighting development at Renault, as Project Manager, Head of Innovation and Pre-Development and Head of Lighting service for Dacia in Romania. He is currently Lighting Expert of the Renault Group.

In parallel, he is Chairman of the Working Group Strategy of the GBT (Groupe de Travail de Bruxelles) and member of the Scientific Committee and Organizing Committee of the VISION Congress of the SIA (every 2 years in Paris).


Automotive lighting coverAutomotive Lighting: Technology, Industry and Market Trends 2017

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