LEDs in vehicles


LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) have taken off in recent years in many technologies, and vehicles are no exception.


LED imageLEDs are small in size, use very little power compared to traditional lighting and have a rapid switch-on time, making high-brightness LEDs an obvious choice for use in cars. We take a look at some interesting facts about this new form of lighting and what the future holds.

How are LEDs used in the automotive industry?

Exterior lighting – LEDs are used extensively in most car exteriors, with brake lights, turn indicators and tail lights being made with LED’s rather than traditional lighting.

Forward lighting – Most car brand’s still utilise traditional light bulbs in their headlights, although LED’s are sometimes used in higher-end and luxury brands. LED’s are however relatively widely used in daytime running lights and fog lights for their attractiveness and brightness.

Interior lighting – the market for LEDs in interior lighting is far greater than what it is for exterior usage, with Light

Emitting Diodes being used as backlights in instrument panels, particularly in European and Japanese cars. Other interior uses for interior LED’s include overhead courtesy lights or to illuminate switches. Some manufacturers, including Toyota, are even using UV LEDs in their air-purification systems.

What does the future hold for LEDs in vehicles?

The automotive industry is quickly moving towards using solely LED lighting, both internally and externally – more car makers are adopting the lighting technology for its many benefits, particularly now that they are cost-effective enough for widespread use.
The future of exterior car lighting may be OLED if Audi has its way – it has designed concept cars that use the Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) to create a “swarming” effect to show the cars driving patterns to other motorists.

So when the driver turns the wheel, the lights will flow in the direction in which the car is turning. The advantage of these OLEDs is that they can be added to any surface, and they light up when an electric charge is passed through them. No word on whether cars featuring OLEDs will be massed produced in the near future, but if they are the driving landscape could look very different!

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