Since the birth of automobiles, taillights have been an indispensable component for automobile driving safety. And in addition to safety, the importance of styling design is also getting more and more attention.
Before the advent of the LED era, it was quite a challenge to use traditional light bulbs to realize the functions of car lights while maintaining the original shape. However, with the development of LED technology, various appearance requirements and innovations in the manufacturing process of various car lights have spawned a series of optical innovations. The current taillights have become more and more complex, while integrating more advanced functions. In addition, due to the trend of digitalization, taillight functions have more and more dynamic effects, not just simple on and off.
Taillights are the most easily seen parts while the car is running, and they have been paid attention to for the longest time. Therefore, in order to be noticed by the drivers behind at any time when turning and braking, the taillights of the car should be designed to be more attractive.
Trend 1: Variable position lights/brake lights
In 2014, Volkswagen first adopted a new type of taillight function on the Passat model. The taillights can be selectively switched between position lights and brake lights. Switching from position lights to brake lights, in addition to increased brightness, has also changed shape and position, thereby significantly increasing the legibility of the brake lights.
In general, humans are more sensitive to objects that change in motion. Therefore, the variable position light/brake light is not only a shape change, but also a function change, which can significantly improve the recognition of tail lights and improve road safety. The visual effect is especially noticeable when the position lights and brake lights are switched at night. Today, LED taillights with this switching function are commonly used in other Volkswagen models
Trend 2: Customizable taillights
For car factories and lamp factories, car lights are always an important part of safety, and they also reflect the shape and design of the vehicle. Now, drivers can already personalize their own taillights through smart devices or in-vehicle entertainment systems. In the various light modes, the LED position lights on the outside remain unchanged and legally compliant, while the OLED position lights in the middle create room for personalisation. Customizable taillights follow the lighting trend, using on-board system controls to personalize the lights and display them according to individual preferences. This trend stems from the customizable ambient lighting in the car, resulting in a highly recognizable new light design.
While interior lighting allows for more cool features, exterior lighting must still meet regulatory requirements. It is foreseeable that after the launch of customized taillights, various taillight functions can also be unlocked individually as needed. Associate the taillights with specific drive modes, such as "Comfort," "Sport" or "Off-Road." In the future, car lights will become more and more personalized, and tail lights are changing from a static function to an interactive dynamic design.
Trend 3: Digital Taillights
The next development trend of customizable taillights is digital taillights. Digital taillights not only realize functional lighting, but also can be used as a display method of symbols and words. The digital rear lights open up a whole new interaction channel, which can display clear warnings, such as "snowflake" patterns to warn of slippery road conditions. These signals are controlled manually by the driver or can be done automatically via Car-to-x communication. For example, an early warning can be issued in a traffic jam to prevent serious rear-end collisions. In addition, it is also important for unmanned vehicles to exchange information with the surrounding environment through taillights. Of course, clear logos and unique symbols are essential.
At the same time, the digital taillight can also be extended to some other functions, such as the welcome animation effect of leaving home or returning home, or the display of the current battery status of electric vehicles. In addition, it is also necessary to study what kind of symbols have good perception and understanding for end users. Of course, digital taillight technology will also continue to be updated to enable a wider range of signaling and safety functions.
Trend Four - Auxiliary Projection
The auxiliary projection taillight function can project any type of information and navigation symbols on the ground in front of, behind and beside the car. For example, this information can be used to clarify the driver's intentions in order to improve traffic safety. Auxiliary projection can be installed in the taillights, door handles, side mirrors or door trim.
In the near future, parking will be fully automated without driver involvement. Parking paths can thus be projected with lines in order to convey information to pedestrians and other road users. In the event of a breakdown or door opening, this new feature can also provide additional safety, such as projecting a safety zone or light strip onto the ground around the car to indicate the safety situation.
Another example of auxiliary taillight projection is steering projection. Additional projections of the steering on the ground help to improve predictability in car start or overtaking situations. Of course, the steering projection can also be extended to a hazard warning, such as projecting a safety zone around a stalled or crashed car.
Trend Five - Holographic Optics
Using 3D holographic technology to generate light in physically suspended places. Once this feature is realized, it will quickly open up a whole new field of lamp design and function. The light is optically protruded from the lamp and appears to be freely suspended in the car lamp, creating an illusionary effect. In addition to the traditional car light signal light function, it can also be applied to car logo lights, and integrated in a more subtle way. Only standing next to the car can you see the car logo or text.
The process of producing holographic film is very efficient. But to fully replicate the holographic optical pattern on the plastic lens of the car lamp, an additional production process must be added. For lamp factories, since the production process required by this technology is brand new, once mastered, holographic taillights may be the next major breakthrough in taillight technology after OLED technology.