The common grouse with night time driving is that the lights on the car are inadequate or insufficient. This is the reason why many of us Indians dread driving during night time. Of course, there are many other factors but the major one is the light beam available from cars. For this very reason, people install aftermarket kits and hence may even incur “unwanted expenses” from the lawmen. In this article, we have discussed about the different kinds of lighting systems that the Indian cars come fitted with. Headlights began evolving only since the late 80s. Earlier on, there was a concave mirror hemmed in plus a glass lens and a simple bulb. No sooner, there was a new pattern introduced in the dispersing of light via various methods and this resulted in the evolving method for head lamps. Glass was replaced by plastic as in the case of headlamp casings, HID and Xenon lamps were the new mantras for the automotive world.
Projector, Xenon and HID lights :
In the new age, no one wants to live with the single bulb giving out the yellowish light. Infact, people have now started to what is called as Xenon, HID or Projector lamps. Most of the manufacturers in India have now realized this after constant feedback from the car buying public over the years. Even mid-range models by these manufacturers are getting the benefit of HID lights. In the normal headlights, there is a filament fitted in while for the HID or even the Xenon and Projector headlamps don’t have a filament. Light is produced in these new age bulbs by means of an high intensity electric arc. For a certain amount of power consumption, the metallic salts vapourized in the arc chamber lead to the high intensity discharge. Xenons are also called so due to the presence of the gas Xenon inside the lamps. Xenons help give good lighting since Xenon gas instantly carries the charge forward. HID lights can be identified by their bluish output. HID lamps were first noticed in India in the Skoda Octavia and then the Toyota Corolla Altis, with the latter displaying a more sharper version. A mini torch like unit housed inside the headlamp enclosure is what is called as a projector headlamp. The Bajaj Pulsar 220 was the first Indian bike to have this feature and so was the Skoda Laura, the first one in its class. A light source at one end having all the hardware required for creating the light and a very high curvature lens at the other end is what makes the projector lamp units. To ensure that one gets both the dipper as also the upper lights from the same lamp, a mask or shade is used in between the lens and lamp so that the beam can be altered. A HID light source can be combined with a projector lamp for better visibility.
LED lights :
Inside a semi conductor, electrons move and this causes the Light Emitting Devices or LEDs to produce a very strong beam given the small surface area that they are subjected to. They actually help head lamp designers to pursue their creativity since the LED lamps can be configured in any way one wants them to be. All those wannabe Audi imitating Swifts and Lancers on the road use exactly this kind of technology. Since semiconductor devices are used for the construction of LED lamps, they tend to be very costly. However, over the years, semiconductors devices were mass produced and hence their costs also came down in the bargain. This enabled manufacturers to plonk in more of the LED lighting systems in their cars. Moreover LEDs have a far longer shelf life than the conventional bulb and this helps nullify their costs in the long run. LED lighting in India is offered only by the likes of Mercedes, Audi and other off shore manufacturers. This may be either in the form of DLRs or Day time Running lamps or headlamps.
Adaptive headlamps :
This is the newest and probably the most useful thing as far as automotive lighting goes. It is based on the dynamic headlamp control system which has got sensors all around which check out the steering angle, the speed at which the car is moving and finally the yaw rate. The main lights controlling motors are governed by these sensors and hence irrespective of the speed or the road ahead, the lights always are throwing out a constant beam of light. While taking sudden or sharp turns, many a times, there is a hesitation in normal headlamps before they can actually illuminate the road section ahead, however, in this light setup, there is no such hesitation. Some cars like Volvo can even sense that an oncoming car may be blinded by the headlamps and hence it self lowers the beams. Some cars even sense an oncoming rain and accordingly vary the headlamp beam so that the driver would have optimum vision while on the road. Moreover, some cars even come with their fog lamps incorporated with this technology so that there are no blind spots.