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LED forward lighting market to nearly double by 2020

The main growth drivers to this increase are styling, functionality and energy savings

A market report by McKinsey & Company predicts a sharp increase in LED lighting adoption in the automotive category by the end of the decade.

In 2011, LEDs claimed a 12 percent share, contributing to the overall category's revenue of $18.1 billion.

Researchers expect to see a spike of 22 percentage points by 2020, increasing the LED share to 34 percent of the overall automotive lighting market. This forecast is based on the anticipated growth in the adoption of LED headlights and daytime running light systems by automakers during the next eight years, says David Hulick, Osram marketing director, Specialty Solid State Lighting.

Hulick points to three major trends driving the LED adoption rate upward. The first is styling and aesthetics. New LED systems empower designers with a more flexible palette, enabling new shapes, colours and mounting configurations that were not possible until recently.

Secondly, functionality and safety are also a factor. LEDs offer solutions for better vision and reduced glare, and operate at a colour temperature that is close to natural sunlight.

Last but not lease, LEDs use significantly less energy than standard halogens. For example, Osram's JOULE technology, uses just 14W of electricity compared with 65W for a conventional bulb.

"An efficient LED headlamp system can extend an electric vehicle's range on a charge by nearly six miles (9.5 km). So, whether the goal is reduced fuel consumption or enhanced styling - be it for a hybrid or standard engine - LED lighting is simply the best technology available," points out Hulick.

Osram's propretary technology - called JOULE JFL2 - integrates the light source and the socket into one easy-to-use package, making it compatible among different vehicle makes and models. The technology debuted in the U.S. this year on three vehicle models using LED in a completely new way including the Cadillac XTS and the Cadillac ATS.

Osram's goal was to provide automakers with an attractive solution to implement LED technology in various applications without paying the premium price tag that typically comes with it.

LEDs offer a multitude of other features that benefit both automakers and consumers. They are robust, having an extended life and being resistant to shock and vibration. Also their compact size enables lower profiles, and new applications and designs like light guides and 3D configurations. Directional emitters also improve optical system efficiency and the infinite management of light is possible with the high-tech electronics within LEDs.

"Until recently, LEDs were most common in centre high mounted stop lamps and taillights, with headlights having been a novelty feature in very high-end vehicles," concludes Hulick. "Now the industry is seeing growth in daytime running lights and headlight applications."

And while in the very near term the industry will experience an increase in daytime running lights and headlamp usage, unique LED light guides and multiple light source lamps, McKinsey predicts that the technology will continue to change and advance. In the future, it is also predicted that technology will advance and result in the deployment of smart headlamps that sense the driving environment and adjust illumination accordingly.
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