German university-industry Link Sets the Benchmark
Last week I visited LTI, the Lighting Technology Institute at KIT, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The institute has three professors, 30 scientific PhD students, and more than 45 undergraduates. I spent a wonderful half day with Professor Cornelius Neumann, Director of General and Automotive lighting. He showed me the most interesting facilities and introduced me to several students working on their PhDs. More information on their research subjects will be detailed in one of our forthcoming newsletters.
I was impressed by two sturdy structural aspects of the Institute:
- The very close involvement of the automotive lighting industry in the university.
All 7 PhD students I have seen were working on concrete projects of lighting which will interest OEMs and lighting suppliers and will open for these young people the door to their first job.
- The very strong link between the university and the industry concerning automotive lighting and probably all the industries, illustrated by the fact that Cornelius Neumann is a former manager of Hella with a deep industrial experience in automotive lighting technology—as Prof. Schmidt-Clausen in his day, or Prof. Khanh at Darmstadt, or Alexander Von Hoffmann at Nuremberg.
Prof. Neumann knows very well the needs of the industry, is up to date on even the slightest details about current evolutions of the environment, ADB, matrix beam, interior lighting, components, and simulations including the influence of deformation on the lighting pattern.
Such a relationship between universities and industries is more important now than ever before—really, it is a must—and shows the right pattern to succeed. All the countries have to take example from this kind of organisation even if it takes a long time to build that kind of cooperation. I think especially about France where there is some effort to build this kind of link but we have not this culture and we will need a long time before somebody from the industry chooses—and is allowed—to become a university professor. German university engineers are educated by senior engineers to be practically employable even before they get their jobs.
French universities educate their students to have a broad theoretical knowledge and rely on the industry to give them the practical knowledge.
Fortunately, new venues for exchange of ideas are propelling us towards more coöperative linkages. Driving Vision News is one such medium, of course, with the weekly news and analysis, the reports, and the workshops. But also the increasing number of events where we can meet to share new ideas and perspectives we might not have encountered before. See our coverage this week of the Optis Lighting Materials & Design Conference, and watch soon for our coverage of IFAL just completed in China.
DVN Editor in Chief
LTI is Lighting Education Pinnacle
LTI, the Lighting Technology Institute of KTI, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, was founded in 1922. There are 5 scientific departments and 3 professors:
- Cornelius Neumann in charge of optics and automotive lighting;
- Uli Lemmer in charge of sensors and nanotechnology;
- Michael Powalla in charge of thin film and photovoltaics.
Dr Karl Manz is in charge of the test house for automotive lighting.
30 students are educated for Master's or PhD.
Prof. Neumann is developing research on physiological effects in the automotive lighting environment; on front, rear, and interior lamps, and on driver assistance systems. His department is also involved in LED technologies developing thermal and optical design.12 PhDstudents are working with him. LTI is associated with the LTIK automotive lighting test house. DVN selected two of LTI's interesting recent developments:
Pixel Lighting – A Video projector with HID light source and 1,000 × 1,000
The target is to
define the best light considering the technology. A device with 6 HID video
projectors equip a car able to run on the road.
Using an array of projectors running with HID lamps, a matrix-based illumination of the traffic space has been realised. Due to the high luminous flux of above 30,000 lumens, every possible light distribution can be visualised realistically on the street. The whole works is mounted on a rack in front of a test car so dynamic test studies can be performed in real traffic. An additional monocular camera is linked to the projectors and provides the possibility of detecting other participants of the traffic scene such as oncoming cars. Below a schematic setting of the Propix test car: six projectors in front of the car, two data processors in the back and connections to the CAN bus of the car and to a scene camera.
By developing special conversion algorithms it is possible to import CAL designed headlamp light distributions into the research headlamp for a kind of rapid beam prototyping. In combination with the camera system and the import of car sensor data there is chance to perform studies on technologies like glare free high beam or even more sophisticated lighting functions.
Ambient interior Lighting -
An ambient interior lighting ensures an improved
orientation and a pleasant atmosphere inside the vehicle even while driving at
night. In addition, the driver's adaptation level is increased, which is said
to have a positive effect on many factors such as the adaption time to higher
light levels, object detection, and sensitivity to glare. Therefore interior
lighting may provide a higher safety level.
To verify these hypotheses, a test vehicle was set up at LTI. Homogeneous illumination and the possibility to modify the colour, luminance, size and shape of the illuminating and illuminated surfaces defined the basic requirements for the test system. The ambient interior lighting extends across the front side doors, the headliner and the instrument panel. The dashboard is directly illuminated by front projection of a pocket projector, while a backlit-diffusing panel is used for the other areas. An existing light concept of an ambient interior lighting can be transferred into the test vehicle. Using this test vehicle in experimental studies, different questions regarding the effects of interior lighting and suitable parameters can be evaluated.
Three other projects deserve to be presented:
- Free form lens with spectacular results shown
- Influence of deformations on lighting quality
- Simulations combining styling and efficiency in a heat sink