LED headlamps illuminate the way forward

Dec. 6, 2007
Cadillac has joined Lexus and Audi by introducing a new car that uses white LEDs for forward illumination, reports Tim Whitaker.
Toyota, Audi and General Motors are all at the forefront of developments that have seen the launch of the first production cars to use LED headlamps for forward lighting. At the biannual Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in September, a number of car manufacturers exhibited concept vehicles using LEDs for all the exterior lighting functions. Some examples can be seen on page 22. Nothing new there, the same thing was seen in 2005.
But the big difference this year is that white LEDs are now considered viable for use in forward lighting, and there are real cars on the road to prove the point.

Early next year, Audi is expected to sell the first production car that uses white LEDs for all forward lighting functions. The German company will offer LED headlamps as an optional extra on the R8, a luxury sports car, which has white LED daytime running lights (DRLs) as standard.

Audi already has at least five models with LED-based DRLs in different configurations, but the R8 will be the first to use white LEDs for both high- and low-beam functions. The headlamps are supplied by Automotive Lighting, a German lighting manufacturer, using power LED chips supplied by Philips Lumileds.

However, Toyota Motor Corporation has already stolen some of Audi's thunder by launching the Lexus LS600h. General Motors is also getting in on the act. As this issue went to press, GM brand Cadillac unveiled at auto shows in the US the Escalade Platinum, a special edition of its luxury SUV.


This article was published in the November/December 2007 issue of LEDs Magazine.

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