While LED taillight technology has found its way into a wide
range of sedans, wagons, sports cars and SUVs/crossovers, LED headlights are
just now starting to find their way into the automotive sector. When used in
taillights, LEDs provide better packaging efficiency, faster response times and longer
life than traditional bulbs. More efficient packaging with LED technology also
allows designers greater liberty in creating unique headlight designs for
Toyota was the first to enter the LED headlight fray with
the announcement that its Lexus LS 600h L
luxury sedan would feature LED headlights. This is an addition to the vehicle's
hybrid powertrain, 30GB HDD navigation system, radar-based cruise control,
Intuitive Park Assist and countless other features.
And just recently, VAG announced that its Audi R8
mid-engined sports coupe would also feature LED technology. The LEDs are used
for all headlight functions including dipped beam, main beam, daytime running
lights and turn signal indicators. Audi also uses LEDs for the taillights and
to provide indirect light for the engine which can be seen under glass.
But for all the advantages of the technology, Visteon has demonstrated that LED
technology does have its drawbacks when used in automotive applications. Heat buildup
can be a problem as well as the close proximity of the LEDs to the engine
compartment which presents even more heat-related challenges. Furthermore, LEDs
require precise electronic control to function properly.
Despite the disadvantages – which are sure to be resolved in
the coming years –LED lighting in automobiles is the future. Likely within the
next few years, we’ll start to see the technology trickle down to more
mainstream automobiles as new technology often does.