Renault concept car uses novel lighting technology

Feb. 15, 2006
Micro-optical features in the headlamp cover create a veil of light in certain operating modes while leaving the main and low beam functions unaffected.

Renault's new Altica concept car, described as a "sporty estate", features advanced LED-based front lighting designed in conjunction with French company Valeo.

In what is described by Renault as a world first, the LED headlamps are covered with a "veil of light" using Valeo's MicroOptic technology, which operates when the headlamps act as daytime running lights (DRLs) or sidelights.

Below a vertical linear orange strip acting as the indicator, the dipped and main beam functions are housed in a single LED module. This module sits next to a linear directional light, which can be controlled to adapt the intensity and orientation of the beam as a function of the conditions.

During motorway driving, the LEDs that ensure long-range visibility are automatically activated and controlled to guarantee optimum visibility at all times without dazzle. The color of the light emitted by the LEDs is similar to that of daylight for enhanced optical comfort and visibility.

The highly unique feature of the headlamps is that the entire polycarbonate headlamp module cover is speckled with thousands of small, micro-engraved nicks. Invisible to the naked eye, these nicks have no effect on the main and low beams, and permit light to pass unhindered.

However, when the DRL or sidelight modes are selected, the surface of the module cover is illuminated from the edge. The micro-optic features trap the light within the headlamp and illuminate the whole surface, resulting in a homogenous "veil".

Renault says that the high efficiency of LEDs can significantly reduce the power that is consumed compared with a conventional light source. The life expectancy of LEDs is also much longer than that of all contemporary light sources.