Today’s cars often represent the most sophisticated technology owned by many consumers. Virtually every aspect of the modern automobile is now high-tech, using state-of-the-art materials and solutions, and as a result has become a platform showcasing the evolution of technology. Throughout February 2018, major car manufacturers unveiled concept cars all with a common theme – the future.
Vehicles enable us to observe the progression of technology across a myriad of fields. Advancement in engine efficiency and emissions reduction often come to mind, but areas that have seen rapid growth in recent years include technology that is used to enhance the driving safety and comfort of passengers and drivers alike. The use of visible and invisible light forms the basis for the implementation of many solutions supporting these improvements, which can cover driver assistance systems, (semi) automotive driving to information transmission, infotainment – or even interior lighting to support alertness or encourage relaxation at the appropriate time.
Rinspeed, the Swiss visionary automobile manufacturer, produces an annual concept vehicle showcasing how technology advancements could look in the automobiles of the future, this year titled Snap. After a successful partnership with Osram in the previous year, Osram Opto Semiconductors was chosen as the key partner for visible and invisible light-based applications, as a recognised innovation driver in the automotive industry. The company has successfully managed to establish itself as the number one supplier within a worldwide ranking in the fields of automotive application, infrared components application and projection. All three of these fields were considered when designing the Snap.
Effectively collaborating with Rinspeed involved deploying Osram Opto Semiconductors’ full knowledge and expertise, ranging from highly innovative semiconductor components to full LED modular solutions. This partnership has enabled Rinspeed to reach its goals through light-related technology to show what is possible in today and tomorrow’s automobiles. Snap not only boost light based safety features, but also demonstrates a field of completely new options to use vehicles and the time spent in transition, particularly in the passenger cabin.
Where metropolitan areas experience fast infrastructure development, we will see the growth of car sharing, enabling multi-purpose use for semi autonomous vehicles – this is demonstrated in the Snap. The concept car comes with two cabin options and can therefore for example, be used to transport goods during the night, while the same chassis is used for passenger transport with the Living Room cabin option during day-time.
Osram Opto Semiconductors’ technology means the Snap can be used as fully branded transporter, a mobile office or a living room, and it can be completely customised to the needs of the user. For example, iris scan and face recognition can be used for secure access to the vehicle and passenger profiling, to automatically adjust car settings such as lighting preferences, information or entertainment history and favourites. In addition, UV light-based disinfection is designed to reduce health risks, such as the spreading of viruses and bacteria, often associated with other forms of public transport. Human Centric Lighting (HCL) within the car adapts the lighting to the passengers’ biorhythm and can be connected to wearables such as smart watches or fitness trackers for even more individual options.
Another significant feature involves projection systems based on LED or laser technology, which could be used in several different applications in the concept car. Firstly, visuals can be projected onto the car’s glass panes. This way colour schemes branding and advertisement can be adjusted to the user. Ad-hoc messages to traffic participants projected onto the glass contribute to traffic safety. Another example is the option to project information, e.g. “Attention, loading zone – please keep this area clear”, onto the ground.
The partnership with Rinspeed in creating Snap is driving the innovation of future cars, creating an improved driving experience that provides a safer experience for both passenger and driver. As vehicles continue to develop, the use of visible and invisible light will be crucial to the success of the industry, and Osram Opto Semiconductors is well placed to lead in these innovations.