Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. touted at the SAE World Congress a headlamp prototype that uses a white LED system for high beam, low beam, vehicle sidemarkers and daytime running lights (DRLs). The system is expected to be in production by 2008, the company said.
Employing standard LEDs and LED assemblies designed especially for automotive applications, the system is said to match the light output of a xenon headlamp. It achieves a level of approximately 1,000 lumens luminous flux in the low beam. Joe Borruso, president and CEO of Hella North America, said white-light LEDs offer greater flexibility for front-end vehicle design.
"The development of white LEDs in particular is creating application possibilities that would have been inconceivable only a few years ago," he said. "Along with its design advantages, the main reason for the development of this new headlamp technology is the reduced need for maintenance. The aim is to develop a headlamp that functions perfectly for the life of the vehicle."
The headlamp features seven hexagonal plastic lenses arranged in a honeycomb pattern. A shovel-shaped, free-form reflector positioned next to the lenses uses four segments of the honeycomb to produce the low beam. All seven segments are used for the high beam. All seven form the daytime running light. Six standard LEDs arranged in a row beneath the reflector are used for the direction indicator.
Borruso said headlamps with LEDs for main lighting functions meet SAE standards in the United States and will meet ECE regulations in Europe by 2008. LEDs are already approved in the United States and Europe for signaling functions, including direction indicator, position light and daytime running light.