Lighting Research Center

Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment

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Lighting in the Automotive Industry

Researchers at the LRC are exploring ways to effectively illuminate light fixtures inside and outside of automobiles, including signaling devices. Some of the projects completed to date include exploring -- and minimizing -- headlight glare for oncoming traffic as well as specialized lighting for snowplows.

Highlighted Projects

headlight glarePublic has yet to fully embrace new headlamp technologies
In the past few years, automobile headlamps have gone through a great deal of transformations in the marketplace, from the advent of high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps to the passing of legislation, such as the “wipers on, lights on” laws that are now common in many states. Despite these innovations, it is unclear whether the public sees this evolution in automobile headlamps as positive.
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headlight glareLED beacon lights on maintenance trucks are safe, economical alternatives to traditional rotating beacons
The next time you drive past a construction zone on a highway, you may notice that more highway maintenance trucks are using light emitting diode (LED) flashing beacons instead of traditional incandescent rotating beacons. A recent study by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center (LRC), sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), has shown that LED beacon lights use less power without compromising safety.
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headlightVisual Performance from Automobile Headlamps Along High-speed Curves
Researchers at the LRC examined the impact of headlamp intensity on visual detection of small targets when entering high-speed curves. Results show that the relationship between headlamp intensity and visual performance depends upon the target's location and the amount of light on the target.
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HeadlightMethod to Reduce Glare and Maintain Maximum Roadway Visbility
Scientists at the LRC developed a method, called the Prime Beam, designed to work in conjunction with sensors to maximize visibility with high-beam headlights. It works by removing the precise angular region of the headlamp beam pattern that creates glare for oncoming drivers.
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HeadlightImproving Pedestrian Safety with HID Headlamps
A study examining the stopping distances under different headlamp illumination conditions suggests that HID headlamps have a greater “safety margin,” or mean stopping distance, than halogen headlamps.
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headlight glareRecovery and Discomfort from Oncoming Headlamps
Glare from oncoming traffic seems to be a big complaint from drivers, but does glare really make the roads more hazardous? Researchers investigate recovery time and discomfort caused by oncoming headlights.
Read More.

The following lists include articles and presentations on related subjects.

Forward Lighting: Visibility
Forward Lighting: Glare
Forward Lighting: Inclement Weather
Rear Lighting
Automotive Display Lighting


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