MENU

Advanced front lighting system for cars

Define the requirements for advanced front lighting for
cars, extensively test the lighting functions and prepare
and submit proposals for international rule making.

The requirements for the front lighting of cars have changed little during the past 25 years. The basic functions, specified in international regulations, have remained the same. The specifications are independent of environmental factors and vehicle-related variables. However, the traffic situation and car design have changed considerably. New modern technology provides new light sources, more powerful optical systems and with current sensors and control equipment, advanced dynamic light systems are possible. This project will: - increase traffic safety - improve the driver's visual comfort - reduce the car's fuel consumption. It is obvious that the R & D for AFS has to be carried out on a European level. The European light source, headlight and car industries should cooperate closely with the relevant traffic institutes. The project should result in proposals for global - or at least European - rulemaking for advanced front lighting systems. The results and experience obtained in the VEDELIS project (EU 273) form the basis for this AFS project. Road Accidents: Traffic statistics clearly show that most severe road accidents occur at night. It is therefore of great importance to use the available technology to contribute to road safety by improving the visual conditions provided by vehicle headlights. This is the main goal of the AFS project. Current front lighting system: The front lighting functions of a car have changed little during the past 25 years: cars have a dipped beam and a main beam and some have a pair of fog lights to cope with adverse driving conditions in fog. Modern technology, however, presents possibilities to adapt the front headlights to the different situations that the weather and traffic can create. The basic front lighting functions - to see and be seen - have to be specified according to environmental conditions and vehicle-related variables. The problems: The different environmental demands are underlined by the expressed need for special lights during the daytime and driving in built up areas with public lighting. In urban areas, with their many crossings, the actual asymmetric main beam is counter-productive, especially as during acceleration after stops additional glare is produced. Driving on motorways at a higher speed with the oncoming traffic on a separate carriageway, requires other lighting functions. Adverse weather conditions have other impacts, due to road reflection, resulting in reduced luminosity and higher (reflected) glare. When it is raining or foggy, the emitted light is absorbed and scattered by snowflakes or water droplets and vision is veiled by the reflected light resulting in a shortened visual range. With today's traffic densities, the main beam is used most of the time during night as well as day time driving. The beam specifications date from the Seventies when the halogen incandescent lamps H1 and H4 became available. With new light sources and better optics, higher intensities below the cut-off line and in the asymmetric part of the beam became feasible. This, together with increased traffic density was the reason to implement in EC Directive 76/756 (and equally in EC Regulation 48) the demand for the cut-off position to remain below the horizon independent of the inclination changes due to vehicle loading. In GERMANY this requirement is mandatory, in other countries it is not. Some vehicles have automatic levelling control, others have manual control on the dashboard. Although manual control helps to avoid excessive hindrance, it does not compensate for the dynamic inclination changes on undulating roads and during acceleration or braking. On this "dynamic glare", no basic research has been done, which would allow the necessary requirements for glare limitation to be quantified. Automatic control If proper environmental adaptation of the front lighting is found to be feasible in order to improve road safety and visual comfort, the changeovers between the different lighting modes should be carried out mainly automatically - to avoid distracting the driver's attention too frequently. Adequate sensoring and control must adapt the lighting to meet environmental conditions and needs. Current cars already have several sensors which would allow automatic switching in particular conditions e.g. continuous or intermittent wiper usage to indicate rain or wet roads. Energy saving The introduction of modern light sources and optics results in smaller headlights. This creates additional possibilities for aerodynamic car styling, one factor which considerably reduces the car's fuel consumption. Subjects to be studied: The situations indicated above have to be studied and classifed according to their lighting needs: * exterior lighting: day, dawn, public lighting, night * traffic environment: motorways with separate carriageways, winding country roads, town streets * weather conditions: dry, wet, rainy, snowy, fog * vehicle attitudes: inclination changes by load, dynamic inclination changes while driving, degree of control, speed of vehicle, ground clearance. While a number of technological possibilities exist - optically and electronically - to make an advanced front lighting system that automatically adapts the front lighting to needs, the basic classification of the environments and respective lighting needs are not sufficiently known. Therefore addition research has to be drafted. Test measures and performance requirements based on the results of this additional research have to be designed. During field tests, the effectiveness of these requirements and the lighting equipment based them, will be evaluated, to see whether visual comfort has been improved. Project phases: The project will be divided into three phases: Phase 1: Feasibility study * Research on the front lighting needed in specific situations * technical conditions to control the front lighting in these situations * preliminary specifications for particular environments * go/no go decision for the next phase. Phase 2: Verification by field test studies * preparation and testing of samples, with a performance according to the preliminary specifications * additional research to evaluate field test results and improve on specifications * preparation of approval procedures. Phase 3: Presentations, regulation drafts and follow-up * submission of the draft AFS regulation to the relevant international rulemaking board * reconciliation (including presentation) with this Board and updating of the draft documents until final acceptance.
Acronym: 
AFS
Project ID: 
1 403
Start date: 
01-01-1994
Project Duration: 
126months
Project costs: 
50 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.