Mobile experiences made of light and glass

From pure lighting to a user experience: Glass as a material is becoming increasingly successful in setting atmospheric accents with light.

From pure lighting to a user experience: Glass as a material is becoming increasingly successful in setting atmospheric accents with light.

“In discussions and projects with our partners in the automotive industry, we are increasingly observing that exterior lighting is also targeted to control passengers’ moods,” says Stephan Schabacker, Director of Automotive Sales at SCHOTT Lighting & Imaging. In vehicle interiors, light is al- ready convincing people. In addition to headlights and combination rear lights, exterior lighting is now also gaining in importance as a user experience in vehicle design concepts.

While functionality and visibility used to be the focus of attention, lighting is increasingly being used as a form of user experience. SCHOTT has already implemented discreet accent and contour lighting – in exterior running boards and roof racks in vehicles from leading manufacturers, for example. These applications not only provide orientation, but also upon approach of the vehicle, the user is delighted with the look, which remains consistent with that of the interior.

With the advent of autonomous driving, this development will continue and assign exterior lighting a new task: communication with the environment. “For example, lighting solutions will transmit signals to the surroundings – whether to non-autonomous vehicles or pedestrians,” ex- plains Schabacker. This also creates new application scenarios for and demands on lighting products.

But back to today: Of course, light depends on design and effects. Technical factors such as longevity and constant product quality are equally important. Especially in exterior applications, the light must be particularly robust and work reliably under harsh environ- mental conditions such as extreme temperatures, road salt or small stone chips. SideLight products from SCHOTT are ideal for use in exterior contour and accent lighting.

SCHOTT SideLight is a patented technology using glass fiber optics to answer the high demand for automotive exterior and interior lighting applications. In combinati- on with highly e ective LED light sources, homogeneous lighting effects can be created even if available space is limited.
10 million vehicles are equipped with SCHOTT fiber optic components.

The fiber optic light guide goes beyond complying with the applicable regulations. In contrast to plastic fibers, the glass fibers are thermally more resilient and chemically more resistant. They can be processed as stand-alone components or as an integral part of a plastic solution in its manufacturing process. At the same time, they can be bent to the smallest radius and offer customers complete creative freedom. Thanks to the combination of fiber optic components and LED or laser light sources, the light can be flexibly installed anywhere and radiates evenly. In this way, aesthetic lighting effects can be achieved for contour and accent lighting.

Another innovative concept from SCHOTT is also suited for use in exterior vehicle lighting; The LuminaLine light rod is based on a glass composite whose luminosity is bundled in a glass fiber, the soul, and is clearly visible even under day- light conditions. This is already possible with low-power light sources. The thermally tempered cladding glass withstands mechanical and chemical stress, UV light and temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit).

For exterior use, the LuminaLine rod provides aesthetic and reliable functional and contour lighting, for example, as an illuminated boarding aid or to accentuate exterior doors. The light guide, which won the 2018 Red Dot Award: Best of the Best and the German Innovation Award (see interview), should meet with further success in the automotive field.

Rethinking car interior Auto

Prof. Lutz Fügener, The Head of Studies in Transportation Design at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences, is a juror for the Red Dot Award. He talks about the vehicle interior of tomorrow and SCHOTT’s LuminaLine lighting concept, which won an award in 2018.

How will the interiors of cars change in the future?

They will change due to the changing functions, especially with regard to autonomous driving. Plastics, transparent and multifunctional materials are on the rise as materials. For example, a surface can also become a display. The equipment will be much more variable.

What role will light and glass play?

Light is an important topic because we have different situations in the interior, daylight and nightlight, for example. Light can change a room 100 percent and take on far more than just decorative functions. Glass can advance augmented reality applications, for example in the form of a windshield that is also a screen.

What impressed you about the Red Dot Award?

Concepts that enable the transition from complex to simple – such as the LuminaLine lighting concept. It is so universal. The designer takes it in his hands and a world of new, previously unattainable benefits opens up immediately. Such technologies make design leaps possible.

January 31st, 2020


Dr. Haike Frank
Lighting & Imaging

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