A New Concept of Headlight: Light Guide Headlamp
Valeo Lighting Systems
Copyright © 1998 Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.
A new headlamp concept is under development whichbrings innovation and style flexibility to automotive light-ing in addition to savings in overall volume.Thanks to this technology named «Baroptic» (from theEuropean Research Program «Eureka»), the low beamfunction has been reduced to a light pipe 45 mm high,100 mm deep and 190 mm long. This volume is consider-ably reduced compared to a traditional low beam unit.The «Baroptic» can be positioned vertically, horizontallyor inclined, depending on styling preference.The flux emitted by the light source (halogen or HID) isnot reflected on the surface of the reflector (as with aComplex Shape or parabolic reflector) nor projecteddirectly on the road (such as with sealed beam or ellipti-cal projector). It is transmitted by a light pipe and thenprojected through lenses which are positioned along thepipe. These lenses in combination with shields, definethe characteristics of the beam, including width, length,distribution, cut off and homogeneity.The results achieved, with either a European or Americanbeam match 70 mm height headlamps ( from traditionalconcepts). If the flux given by the comparable models areidentical (300 lm minimum), the new technology opti-mizes the distribution of the emitted light.
Generally, headlamps are considered as a styling aspectof the vehicle. Car manufacturers’ stylists continuouslylook for innovation and differentiation.Simultaneously, headlamp volume constraint and acces-sibility are becoming all the more important as sizereduction is required.Those requirements have to be added to headlamp mainlighting functions which impact on safety and comfort forthe driver.Therefore, the research associated with to headlampdesign leads to develop technologies that optimize thebalance between style, volume and of course lightingperformance.As an example, low profile headlamps required by carmanufacturers cannot be designed with traditional con-cept without drastic and so far unacceptable photometri-cal losses.This first low profile headlamp (45 mm useful height)uses a light guide concept compatible with halogen orHigh intensity discharge lamps to give a high qualitybeam distribution.Figure 1.Useful aperture comparisonThis new concept brings a new shape appearance bothlit and unlit, and offers the opportunity to be located in dif-ferent positions (slanted, horizontal...) in the vehicle.
LIGHT GUIDE CONCEPT
GENERAL – Traditional reflector concepts use parabolicshape reflectors for collection and projection. Then a lensspreads the light in front of it.In Elliptical headlamps, collection is done by an ellipticalreflector and projection is done by the lens.The light guide concept such as an optical fiber systemseparates collection and projection. Light is first collectedand injected in the light guide. After transport, it is thenprojected on the road from the light guide output. Onemajor critical issue is that fiber bundle flux coupling effi-ciency is low and not compatible with halogen lamp use.