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Vehicle lighting

Vision and visibility

Vision and visibility are two key aspects of active vehicle safety. For one thing, good headlights are needed to see far enough even at night. On the other hand, the own vehicle should also be easily visible, so as not to be overlooked. The latter applies both at night and during the day. Moreover, the vehicle lighting should be designed so that it neither irritates nor causes glare to other road users.

Within research and committee work, the Federal Highway Research Institute takes a closer look at these issues of lighting technology with impact on traffic safety, and examines them in depth as needed. Thereby the interests, in terms of lighting, of vulnerable road users, id est cyclists and pedestrians, are also addressed in greater detail.

Daytime running light

Photo shows vehicles with activated daytime running light on a country road (photo: German Traffic Safety Association e.V.)

In relation to daytime running lights, also the aspect of the increase in fuel consumption by running lights during the day was investigated. The use of special daytime running lights is more advantageous than the use of dipped headlights. When these are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED), the excess consumption caused by daytime running lights can be reduced to one tenth.

Future Technologies

The Federal Highway Research Institute is also involved in the discussion on future technologies and new concepts. These include, among others, LED headlights, pixel light, changed light distributions, adaptive lights and strategies to avoid glare (both directly and through the mirrors). Moreover, there is a research question of to what extent the camera-monitor systems can reliably replace the existing mirror systems.

Visibility of powered two wheelers

Photo showing a motorcycle with additional lighting in a test Test to improve the visibility of motorcycles at night

The aim of the research project 2-BE-SAFE was to improve the safety of drivers of powered two wheelers. At the core was the study of behaviour and ergonomics to develop countermeasures to improve the PTW (Powered Two Wheeler) and driver safety. Included were studies on the causes of accidents and human error, as well as a first global driving study with instrumented powered two wheelers.

The project was co-financed by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, Subject 7 'Sustainable land and sea transport'.

29 partners from 14 various European countries, Israel and Australia, from research and academic institutions, consumer protection organizations and the industry were involved.

The Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) has played a major role in the work package 1 (accident studies) and work package 5 (behavioural studies, in particular for the visibility of PTW).

Other Information

Detailed results of the project can be found under the following links:

New headlight systems for motorcycles

The usual arrangement at this time of the main headlight for low and high beam in motorcycles allows for only inadequate illumination of the road in curves through the inclination angle of the motorcycle. The improvement of road illumination has not been studied so far, neither for a modified arrangement of the headlights, nor for possible future headlight systems with tilt angle compensation, and was therefore subject of a research project of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

In the study, BASt examined two innovative bend lighting systems for motorcycles, driving at night in real traffic conditions, using measurement technology and with the help of volunteers surveys, in order to identify the advantages and disadvantages and, if necessary, to identify change requirements to the lighting technology regulations. The results were published as part of the ISAL 2011 conference in Darmstadt.

Other Information