After a slow increase of revenue from 2015 to 2018 due to cost erosion, Yole Devolopment’s analysts forecast a market recovery with a 23.7% CAGR between 2015 and 2021. This trends is explained by the wider adoption of advanced front lighting systems and the slow adoption of emerging light sources such as laser and OLED. Laser technology is just at the starting point in term of adoption: there are still some questions about technology’s added-value and potential associated risks. From its side, OLED technology confirms its added-value but suffers from its very high price…

The integration of new lighting technologies is transforming automotive front lighting systems and their applications, offering more design flexibility, increased efficacy, and new functionalities.

LEDs are rapidly gaining popularity as their cost decreases and performance increases (i.e. efficiency, luminance, package size). For example, full LED headlamps that first saw commercialization in 2008 on luxury cars like the V10 Audi R8 have since penetrated the C-segment vehicle market in 2012, and are now being commercialized in emerging markets. Nowadays, nearly all Tier-1s have developed full LED-based headlamp systems.

Laser and OLED sources are still emerging technologies: laser solutions are just being implemented in commercial vehicles. And several questions remain about the technology’s added value and potential associated risks. In parallel, OLED technology provides strong added-value at a design level but still suffers from its very high price. Yole’s analysts list the following examples:

The first commercial car (BMW i8) with laser-based headlamps was unveiled in fall 2014.
The first commercial car (BMW M4 GTS) with OLED-based RCL was unveiled in fall 2015.

Adoption of OLED in RCL will match with a design shift from 2D to 3D light source, made possible by the nature of the OLED device itself: thin, bendable, and a large emitting surface source. However, both technologies have price and technological issues that must be solved in order to match with automotive OEM requirements like reliability and lifetime.

From their side, laser-based headlamps could enable long-distance night vision: according to Yole’s report, distances could reach up to 600 meters. Such technology combines light performance (Xenon source) with design possibilities offered by LEDs.

With the implementation of this solution within their product portfolio, car makers promote their brand and demonstrate their commitment to innovation and improvement.

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