Automotive Interior lighting – from static to on-surface projection

With the development of the autonomous vehicle, interior lighting is reinventing itself to reinforce the feeling of the comfort of being at home.
Automotive interior lighting also has a role to play in the new communications between the increasingly automated vehicle and the driver/passenger, to create trust and reassure occupants.

Brand and vehicle personalization with ambient lighting

With a wide offer in terms of both vehicles and powertrains, differentiation is achieved thanks to a dedicated visual identity, both outside and inside the vehicle.
Onboard ambient lighting is a key element to this brand identity for a car.
Current applications are mainly what we call static ambient lighting. Whether monochromatic or RGB lights, direct or indirect, both premium and mainstream vehicles are now equipped with static ambient lighting solutions. All segments are concerned. Valeo Interior Lighting Systems for cars deliver static ambient lighting systems to many OEMs all over the world.

With the evolution towards a home-like cabin in the vehicle, one trend is to merge decorative components and lighting into one backlit system.

Backlit decorations create a specific signature when activated, enabling a polymorphic interior, whether thanks to an “augmented” pattern (visible when off but highlighted when on) or reveal one that is hidden for a specific night signature.
Valeo develops specific technical bricks for backlit decorative surfaces. A wide range of decorative components are studied in-depth in order to meet our customers’ requirements (plastic-based, artificial leather, metal aspect and wood to mention a few).
In order to achieve perfect perceived light (luminance, color, homogeneity, etc.) and ensure the expected user experience, the specifications of decorative components need to be taken into account and backlit systems specified accordingly. Once activated, the system backlights the decorative features in a homogenous manner, enhancing the brand’s signature and design of the vehicle.

Automotive ambient lights: enhancement of perceived safety for passengers towards immersivity

In order to use light as a visual cue, dynamic ambient lighting appears on vehicles. Its use of smart LEDs enables a highly controlled system that’s able to create an animation throughout the cabin or in a very specific area. Speed, luminance, and color can be managed for each LED light in order to get a warning or visual feedback in day and night conditions. Addressed use cases are numerous:

  • incoming call,
  • personal assistant visualization,
  • notification from navigation or ADAS system (blind spot detection, distance warning, etc).

Dynamic ambient lighting offers many opportunities in an evolving cabin.

In order to offer limitless evolution of the cabin and extend the focus to all passengers, on surface projection is an exciting alternative. Interior lights offer various possibilities: fixed and simple images/patterns, anamorphic projections to visually reshape the surfaces or streaming content.
Automotive interior lighting enables to change almost infinitely the design of the interior, enabling the owner or users (if considering a shared application) to adapt the vehicle to their mood and taste and to deliver a personalized experience.
In the long term, Over-the-Air updates could deliver new “skin” packages or easter-eggs, offering an evolving experience throughout the lifetime of the vehicle, adding value to the travel experience. Beyond pure decoration, it also combines functional lighting with HMI projection, content, etc.