Topics and News related to Vehicle Safety Issues such as New Technologies and Recalls
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From 1998: Headlamp History and Harmonization
- This report describes the development of automobile headlamps. The major topics covered include the following: the reasons for the emergence and use of different light sources, headlamp materials, optical controls, and aiming methods; differences between U.S. and European headlamp practices; evolution of regulatory beam-pattern requirements; and harmonization activities
- From candles to high-intensity discharge, there have been tremendous changes in less than one hundred years in the light sources for vehicle headlamp systems. Materials for headlamps—metal and glass for most of that time—have given way to high-temperature durable plastics. Headlamp designs are now integrated into the vehicle styled surfaces, whereas a hundred years ago headlamps were added on the outer metal structure and looked every bit of an “ugly wart.” The visual headlamp aiming of a hundred years ago has evolved to more accurate visual/optical aiming today with the latest beam patterns. Will there be more changes and improvements? Absolutely! Light sources will continue to change. Materials will improve. Beam-pattern requirements will continue to be a compromise between providing sufficient light for the driver and limiting the light in the opposing driver’s eyes. Adaptive front lighting systems will be capable of customizing beam patterns for moment-to-moment changes in the road, driving, and weather conditions (Rumar, 1997). As vehicle manufacturers and lighting manufacturers become more international, there will be a worldwide harmonized beam pattern.