Light is essential to both seeing and being seen. Since vehicle lighting is so important to the safety of everyone on the road, HELLA develops innovative lighting systems that offer a high level of driving comfort while also providing optimum illumination of the road ahead. But that’s not all: Design is also an increasingly important factor where HELLA develops systems enabling designers to create unique brand-specific styles.
For more than 100 years HELLA ensures the drivers need of mobility even in poor visibility conditions by developing and manufacturing innovative headlamps for vehicles. In this period, HELLA has been setting several new standards for lighting products and systems, e.g. by offering the 1st Full-LED-Headlamp. Today, the product center Headlamp is the largest product center in the Business Division Lighting. The headlamp business is mainly driven by comfort, safety, and design aspects. Based on our experience, core competences and leading production processes HELLA is already working on new innovative solutions like High-Definition-Systems to bring the driving experience and safety to the next level.
|2006||First full AFS headlamp | Mercedes E-Class | Opel Insignia|
|2008||First full LED headlamp | Cadillac Escalade Platinum (1st to segment)|
|2009||Camera based headlamp with adaptive cut-off line | Mercedes E-Class (1st to market)|
|2010||Full LED headlamp with AFS functions | Audi A8 (1st to market)|
|2011||Camera based headlamp with glare-free high beam | VW Touareg (1st to market)|
|2012||Headlamp with LED low beam function for truck segment | DAF XF/CF (1st to market)|
|2013||LED matrix headlamp with glare-free high beam | Audi A8 (1st to market)|
|2013||Full LED headlamp with glare-free high beam | Mercedes E-Class (1st to segment)|
|2015||LED headlamp with bi-LED module for low and high beam function | BMW 1-Series|
|2016||LED headlamp with mono-LED modules for low and high beam functions | Renault Kadjar|
|2016||LED matrix with glare-free high beam and matrix HD84 module | Mercedes E-Class (1st to market)|
|2017||LED headlamp with dynamic LASER high beam spot and animated signal functions | Audi A8|
|2020||LED headlamp with compact, software-controlled SSL100 module for ADB functions|
|2021||Ultra slim LED headlamp with cylindrical lenses, modules with MLA technology and single-row matrix module | Lucid Air|
The low beam is only a compromise of all partial light distributions. One of the first light-based assistance systems was the dynamic bend lighting function, which was introduced in 2003. In this system, the light modules rotate according to the steering angle, nearly doubling the range of visibility in a curve. The next advanced development was the Adaptive Frontlight System (AFS). This system uses both the steering angle and the vehicle speed as parameters for illuminating the road.
The big breakthrough, however, was the glare-free high beam. The glare-free high beam function means that drivers can drive with the high beam on at all times. If the camera detects other traffic on the road, the distribution of light from the high beams is adjusted to mask the specific area.
|B||The high beam of the AFS works like a conventional high beam, but does not require the driver to take action to avoid exposing oncoming drivers to excessive glare.|
|C||Motorway light is activated at speeds above 100 km/h. The light distribution range is designed for wide curve radii at high speeds.|
|D||Town light, which is activated at speeds below 55 km/h, features a horizontal cut-off line to minimize glare for other people on the road. Wide light distribution also makes it easier to detect pedestrians at the side of the road.|
|E||The cornering light is switched on automatically in addition to the low beam and dependent on the vehicle speed, whenever the driver switches on the direction indicator to make a turn or drives through narrow bends|
|F||Adverse weather light creates a wider dispersion of the light to improve visibility in rain, fog or snow. This feature also reduces long-range illumination to minimize reflective glare affecting the driver’s own vehicle.|
|G||Country road light is also activated between speeds of 55 and 100 km/h and is similar to conventional low beam light distribution. The projection module generates an asymmetrical light distribution pattern to minimize glare for oncoming drivers. The cut-off line is raised so that the left edge of the road is better illuminated, providing greater coverage.|
|H||The Adaptive Frontlighting System also has a dynamic bend lighting function. Depending on the steering angle, the headlamps also swivel by up to 15° and allow optimized illumination of the bend.|
HELLA's SSL | HD technology represents the evolutionary further development of LED matrix systems. This is associated with the requirement to achieve both a very high light output and a very high range of functions with a minimized size of the light modules. The SSL Micro-LED Clusters are electronic components in which currently between 100 and 25,000 LED pixels are arranged in a very small space.
These LED clusters are combined as a light source in the headlamp and offer new application possibilities due to the higher number of pixels. For example, they enable partial masking of oncoming vehicles and the illumination of traffic signs. In the long term, projections of the safety distance could also be realized or pedestrians or cyclists could be highlighted by means of light.
“We are setting a new milestone and bringing the next generation of headlamps onto the market with our digital SSL | HD light.”
The SSL | HD lighting technology not only further improves established lighting functions such as adaptive, glare-free high beam, it also enables additional light-based safety functions, for instance in the form of an optical lane assistant. This can, for example, indicate the optimum lane to take when driving past road works and thus provide the driver with additional support in order to achieve safe and stable vehicle guidance. Another possible safety-enhancing functionality is the projection of protection areas for cyclists or pedestrians.
The "Digital Light SSL | HD" also makes it possible to open up perspectives for new business models. Against this backdrop, HELLA offers original equipment manufacturers the option of freely programming lighting functions or developing new business models on a pay-per-use basis. Certain lighting functionalities are always stored in the vehicle, but are only activated on request in line with individual user requirements, and can for example be controlled and paid for via a mobile device.
Together with partners, HELLA has further miniaturized the light source. At the heart of the technology are SSL micro-LED clusters, i.e. electronic components on which between 100 and 25,000 LED pixels are currently arranged in a very small space. The higher resolution not only provides better road illumination, but also enables new high-resolution lighting functionalities such as the projection of safety distances or lane markings onto the road.
In the automotive industry's first few decades, only little attention was paid to rear lights. They were relatively small and acted only as tail lights and stop lights. Today, rear combination lamps have a number of different functions. The product center Rear Combination Lamps develops and produces back-up lights, rear indicators, stop lights, tail lights, rear fog lights and reflex reflectors. Rear combination lamps also have a growing impact on the individual vehicle design. They can even identify a car's make, especially in the dark – a trend that HELLA is championing with customized designs and related optical systems.
|1935||Law change paved the way to bi-colored rear lamps|
|1957||First rear lamp with integrated rear reflex|
|1961||Integration of reverse light as well as turn indicator (replacing the winker) in the rear lamp|
|1973||Rear lamp becomes rear combination lamp and combines for the first time all currently available functions - including rear fog light|
|1995||Free-form technology | Jaguar S-Type|
|1999||World premiere with the use of light guides in connection with LEDs | BMW 5-Series|
|2001||Macro reflex reflectors | BMW 7-Series|
|2003||Multistage stop light | BMW 5-Series|
|2005||Multi-color LED function for tail and direction indicator | VW Golf Plus|
|2006||First full LED rear lamp | Cadillac DTS
First application of 3D-shaped light guides | Citroen C4 Picasso
|2008||First application of crossing light guides | Audi A3|
|2009||Light curtain technology: First complete illuminated rear lamp | Peugeot 308CC|
|2010||dgeLight technology in combination with light curtain | Ford S-Max|
|2011||Glowing body technology | BMW 5-Series|
|2013||Tail / brake light with mirror tunnel technology | Citroen P4 Picasso|
|2015||Full LED rear lamp with sequential turn signal for rear lamp | Audi A4|
|2017||First rear lamp in series production with OLED light source | Audi A8|
|2021||One-piece infinity LED rear combination lamp with a length of 1.72m | Lucid Air|
Micro optics smaller than a grain of salt
Smaller, more efficient, better: Miniaturization is inevitable in the automotive industry. Everyone is looking to reduce packaging space and weight which save costs and ultimately energy. The HELLA FlatLight concept takes styling, function and performance to a new level. This is made possible by an innovative light guide concept which is based on micro-optics. These optical lenses are smaller than a grain of salt. The optics, which are only a few micrometers in size, allow the diffraction properties of light to be exploited.
Another major advantage is the reduced amount of energy needed versus other technologies. Only one watt is required to reproduce all taillight functionalities. Direction indicator, brake and taillight can be implemented in just one optical element. Conventional technology requires separate chambers to house each function individually. Complex welcome and farewell scenarios cannot only be designed via the HELLA software interface, but also implemented directly. Fonts, logos and other graphics can be added.
“Our Digital FlatLight technology takes signal lighting to a new level. By integrating a SmartGlass display, our FlatLight now becomes digital.”
With the FlatLight | µMX technology, HELLA already presented an innovative light guide concept using micro-optics. It enables particularly homogeneously illuminated surfaces with an extremely low module depth of only 5 millimeters. At the same time, the technology combines high efficiency with a wide range of design options, as the front surface of the module can be masked with different decors.
Digital FlatLight uses exactly this technology. By using a SmartGlass display, the functionality is increased many times over. In the HELLA prototype the SmartGlass in front is divided into 44 triangular segments that can be individually switched and dimmed by software. In contrast to a classic display, not only the size and number but also the shape of the individual segments can be individually designed. This eliminates the need for masks and decors.
With the Digital FlatLight, new signatures can be easily programmed for a possible facelift. New business models such as the installation and adaptation of graphics via app or software update are also conceivable in this context. Another plus point: when switched off, the Digital FlatLight impresses with its "Black Panel" look, a homogeneous glossy black surface. Alternatively, the SmartGlass can be used to make the selected signature visible even when it is not illuminated.
The overall thickness of the module, which is approximately 5 mm, still shows a flat structure, which allows an individual positioning in the rear combination lamp. The front surface of the module can be masked with different decorations, painted, or laminated to enhance your most creative ideas.
The product segment Car Body Lighting offers a comprehensive portfolio of fog lamps, daytime running lights, front combination lamps, center high mounted stop lamps, additional turn indicators, rear signal lamps and license plate lamps. Moreover, it is accelerating its portfolio with innovative and state-of-the-art products, such as light projections and front grille lighting. Furthermore the product center Car Body Lighting synergizes Radome (Radar Dome = abbreviation for „radar/ millimeter wave transparent cover“) which avoid pollution of the radar-based sensor and let pass the radiation of the systems behind.
|1926||First electrical brake lamp|
|1930||First fog lamp|
|1951||First flashing direction indicators|
|1966||First rear fog lamps|
|1980||First high mounted stop lamps|
|1991||First signal lamp (additional turn indicator) with light guide technology|
|1992||First center high mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) with LED technology | BMW 3-Series|
|1998||First radome | Mercedes-Benz|
|2008||First LED daytime running light|
|2013||First LED fog lamp | Nissan Infiniti Q50
First application of micro optics light guide in a center high mounted stop lamp | Rolls-Royce
|2014||Illumination of the license plate with only one license plate lamp with one LED
Animated direction indicator | Peugeot 308 GT
|2015||Extremely bend radome | Renault
First application of multi lens array in additional lamp (light carpet) | BMW 7-Series
|2016||Heated radome | Mercedes-Benz E-Class|
|2017||XXL radome for e-vehicles | Nissan Leaf|
|2018||Charge port indicator with RGB LED | Jaguar I-Pace|
|2019||Grille Illumination | BMW X6
Radome with integrated camera | Volvo
|2020||2D Rradome for 77 GHz radar sensor | VW|
|2021||Crystal look Grille Illumination | Skoda Enyaq|
Light is the new chrome
Since EVs no longer require classic engine cooling, the possibilities open up for car designers to stage the front vehicle signature as a central brand face. The entire front surface is a new creative playground for both designers and engineers alike. HELLA has developed a front phygital shield with integrated sensors and lighting elements that maintains the utmost respect for appearances in both daylight and nighttime situations. In addition to the design aspect, the front phygital shield also has an important safety function. It serves as protection for sensitive systems such as parking assistants or automatic distance control.
If desired, the front phygital shield can also be heated, ensuring reliable functionality even in bad weather. This aspect is becoming increasingly important, especially with a view to autonomous driving.
HELLA acts as a system integrator here: front radar covers, so-called radomes, radar sensors, lidar, cameras for driver assistance systems and headlights are integrated into the front phygital shield. In addition, larger plastic parts with high-quality surfaces are produced. Delivering the complete system as one stop shop with global footprint.
The “feel-good” factor: The trend towards individualization in combination with new technologies opens up a wide range of new possibilities for interior lighting. HELLA has excelled at installing LEDs as interior lights since 2001. Our portfolio includes lights with sophisticated comfort electronics, classic small lights, interior lights and interior reading lamps, roof modules, ambient interior lighting systems that are used to create color atmospheres and moods, and optimized light guide technology complete our portfolio. This range of products lets HELLA offer vehicle manufacturers a wealth of possibilities for using interior lights to create vehicle-specific interior designs.
|1995||First European central patent for light guide symbol lighting with only 1 LED | Volvo|
|1998||Worldwide unique patented process to produce radar covers | Mercedes S-Class|
|2001||First European application of light guide technology for ambient interior lighting | BMW 7-Series|
|2007||Installation space optimized LED interior reading light for convertibles | Audi A4 Convertible|
|2010||Complex light guide technology in overhead consoles | Audi A8|
|2012||Light guide in panoramic roof and door panels | VW Golf 7 | Peugeot 208|
|2013||RGB-LED ambient lighting material backlighting | Opel Adam | Range Rover|
|2014||RGB-LED ambient lighting and complex overhead consoles | BMW X5|
|2015||Touch and proximity sensing in OHC and map pocket lamp | Audi Q7|
|2017||Matrix reading light | Audi A8|
|2018||New generation of RGB modules | Audi A7|
|2020||Dynamic ambient lighting realizing welcome and warning scenarios | Mercedes-Benz S-Class|
Intelligent dynamic interior light system
The vehicle interior is changing from the ground up. Thus, new interior lighting concepts from HELLA can indirectly set the scene for the interior of the future, directly illuminate contours or even enable wide-area lighting. They are particularly slim and can couple up to 4 high-power RGB LEDs. This enables, for example, dynamic lighting scenarios and can turn the vehicle interior into an office with white light or create a lounge atmosphere with subdued colours.
At the same time, the interaction of lighting solutions and sensor technology brings more intelligence into the vehicle: intelligent lighting modules can support communication between occupants and vehicle. A turquoise light bar, for example, can indicate an incoming call; if it lights up red, it signals that there are objects in the blind spot.