Ficosa launches LED-based multi-signal rear-view mirror

May 3, 2006
Ficosa has developed a rear-view mirror for cars that uses LEDs to provide both a turn signal and a front position lamp.
Ficosa wing mirror Ficosa International, a Barcelona, Spain-based developer of automobile systems and components, has launched the first multi-signal rear-view mirror on the market.

Many cars now feature side-mounted rear-view mirrors (wing mirrors) with LED turn signals. However, Ficosa's innovative product uses LEDs to integrate a signaling module into the rear-view mirror, which works as both a position lamp and a turn signal.

Ficosa's patented system incorporates an advanced optical system consisting of high performance, latest generation LEDs and a special system of polyhedral lenses that allow these types of lights to comply with regulations when installed on an automobile.

Ficosa described the system to LEDs Magazine. "For the front position light we use 3 white Super Nova LEDs from Dominant (28 lm each) assembled on a metal-core base for heat dissipation, and a current driver adjusted to 250mA. In addition we use a specific optical solution composed of a lightguide with prisms to distribute the light horizontally, and two polyhedral multi prisms to concentrate the light in the optical axis. These optical solutions follow our own patents.

For the turn signal function we use 3 yellow (590 nm) Power TopLEDs from Osram (2.35lm each) colour 590 nm with a standard serial resistor circuit powered at 50mA and assembled on a flexible PCB. Again, this technical solution follows our own patents."

Incorporating the front position lamp into the rear-view mirror along with the turn signal results in improved safety by increasing the visibility of a vehicle’s width as viewed from the front under adverse lighting conditions.

Position light on Ficosa says that this new device provides vehicles with a unique image, thereby creating an avant-garde line open to new design possibilities.

There are a number of specific benefits to the new configuration:

Feature: Front position lamps on a rear-view mirror are at the driver’s eye level, in order to be seen better.
Benefits: Current headlamps create a view of 2 light points - 2D vision. By adding the position lamp on the rear-view mirror, a view of 4 light points is achieved, which provides other drivers with a better perception of the dimension and depth of an automobile when viewed from the front and side. Improved judgment of the vehicle’s length: normally, the distance from the rear-view mirror to the front headlamps is one-third the total vehicle length.

Feature: The front position lamp on the rear-view mirror does not lose its functionality when other lamps are switched on.
Benefits: A position lamp located on the front headlamp is not visible when the low beams are turned on. This does not happen when the position lamp is installed on the rear-view mirror.

Feature: While driving at night, the position lamps on the rear-view mirrors are turned on together with the low beams.
Benefits: Ninety percent of a driver’s reactions depend on sight, which evidently is very limited in the dark. The difference is more evident under driving conditions in tunnels, on curves, on narrow highways and under adverse conditions, where being seen is as important as seeing.

Feature: The position lamps on a rear-view mirror can be turned on during the day, just like daytime driving lights, which makes them complementary.
Benefits: This improves safety by making the vehicle more easily visible while driving during the day.