car’s ambient interior lighting
Interior design of cars is always a challenge for car designers. Today, in great automotive companies, different parts of the interior of a car are designed by different designers, which shows the importance of designing an interior cabin of a car.
One of the trademarks that exists today is the ambient interior lighting of the car’s interior. In the past, interior lighting was merely a practical aspect, and its existential couse was to turn the car into the cabin for better visitor visibility, but in 2005, when a German automotive company first introduced a colored surrounding lighting system as an additional kit, the interior lighting of the cars has changed and today it is part of the interior design of the car cabins.
Over the past few years, more and more vehicles are starting to offer ambient lighting as a standard or optional feature. Ambient lighting is the soft illumination around the center console, door handles and pulls, cupholders and sometimes completely across the dash and in the footwells.
Typically, ambient lighting is seen as a purely cosmetic feature, but it may also increase a driver’s perceived safety and quality of the car, according to a new study conducted by a german company and the Lighting Engineering Group at Ilmenau University of Technology in Germany. Ambient lighting increases spatial perception, making the vehicle’s interior feel bigger at night, the study says. The lights may also decrease fatigue when driving at night, but the study had inconclusive evidence regarding ambient lighting’s effect on “alertness” or the ability to improve a driver’s mood or performance. Moreover, drivers thought ambient lighting increased the perceived quality of materials and design. They also found controls easier to use.
Brightness of the ambient lighting system was a critical factor in the study. If the lights were too bright, drivers started to find the system distracting. Keeping illumination below 0.1 candelas per square meter will keep glares from forming on the plastics of the interior, which will reduce the possibility of distraction, previous studies have shown. In general, drivers want to be able to control the illumination levels, the study says.
The color used was reportedly not important in affecting the driver’s emotional state, but it was important in forming brand-specific identities.
LEDs technologies used in car’s ambient lighting
Ambient or mood lighting inside the car has primarily been the realm of high-end luxury vehicles.
LEDs in cars are not new, of course. All carmakers are now using LEDs. Single LEDs have been used in instrument clusters and behind dashboards for 20 years or more. Headlamps and rear lights are the most eye-catching of recent innovations, replacing traditional lighting technologies. Increasingly, LEDs are being used in new applications, such as to back-light switches to indicate the location of door handles or window openers. More recently they have found their way into footwells, cup holders and map pockets, as well as door and roof panels. More subtle features include low-level colored overhead-directed lighting that gently highlights the gear stick, for example. Today, with LEDs taking center stage, the focus is on ambient or mood lighting, and designers are in their element. Concept ideas include wide-area roof illumination and footwell lighting, which can be easily controlled in intensity as required, and in color to match the travelers’ mood. Of course it is not only about mood or fashion, but also about function and comfort. The ability to dim or brighten interior lights becomes an important feature: brightness should be reduced for night driving and increased in the daytime. But it also depends on the particular task in hand, such as map-reading or search mode, which may require brighter light levels.