Sapphire Industry Watch – January 30

  • Public servants to take power to India’s slums in international move – Canberra Times: Pollinate Energy is a social enterprise with a mission to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by providing access to sustainable technologies like solar energy and LED lights. Co-founded in 2012 by a Canberra woman, the organization has already helped more than 25,000 people in Bangalore switch to solar LED lighting in their homes.
  • The First Super Bowl Played Under LEDs will use 75 Percent Less Power– Gizmodo: Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona will be the first Super Bowl played entirely under LED lights. The switch from metal halide fixtures to high-performance LED lights will reduce overall energy consumption by 75 percent.
  • LEDs cast new light on auto design – The Detroit News: As the price of LEDs continues to decline, the technology is becoming standard on many headlamps and taillights of mainstream vehicles. Once found only on luxury vehicles, nearly all of the models showcased at the 2015 North American International Auto Show incorporated LED lighting.
  • Rubicon Technology Will Report Results of Fourth Quarter Operations on February 12, 2015 – MarketWatch: Rubicon Technology will report financial results for the fourth quarter, which ended on December 31, 2014, after the market closes on February 12, 2015. Management will host a conference call at 5:00 p.m. EST on February 12 in conjunction with the earnings release to review the financial results and an audio replay of the call will be available approximately one hour after the conclusion of the call.

Cars Update – A Smarter LED Headlight, For Europe and the All-LED Mercedes

Mercedes new 2014 S-class features all LEDs

There has been a lot of activity surrounding autos and LEDs this May.  While manufacturers have been working on specific functionality like headlights, one manufacturer has totally eliminated incandescent from one of their models in favor of LEDs.

Europe is making strides with smarter headlights.  Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FMER) just announced a new research project with Osram, Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, Infineon, HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co. and Daimler.  The adaptive forward lighting system (AFS) project focuses on camera-controlled headlights that react to changing conditions such as objects like oncoming traffic, sidewalks, pedestrians and cyclists.  The project will integrate microelectronics and optoelectronics to develop a framework for a new class of energy-efficient LED headlights for traffic safety.

For example, the headlights in an AFS will feature high and low beams that can adapt to the speed of the vehicle. At high speeds, the range of light will automatically increase. In city conditions, the light will focus more broadly on sidewalks, pedestrians and cyclists. The AFS is completely electronic and will not rely on mechanical actuators.

Whether this type of technology will arrive in the US is already in question. Audi’s “matrix beam lighting” for headlights made its premier in 2011 in a concept car that included a camera that automatically detects nearby cars and pedestrians and reacts by dimming some of the bulbs for the high beam. But Audi already encountered a stop sign in the US.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulation, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, states that headlights are not allowed to shine in a dynamic way.  Audi has since appealed to the NHTSA for an interpretation of the standard.  In the meantime, Audi offers a “high beam assistant” that just dims high beams for oncoming traffic for the US market.

Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz just announced that the new 2014 S-class models will feature all-LEDs for lighting – without an incandescent in sight. This makes Mercedes the first car manufacturer to go all-LED.  According to Mercedes, each car will use nearly 500 LEDs for the exterior and interior lighting.

For Further Reading

Automotive News, Audi’s next-gen LED headlights hit Washington speed bump, http://www.autonews.com/article/20130205/BLOG06/130209935#ixzz2TZxQREqr

LEDs Magazine, Osram leads research on LED-based adaptive headlamps for autos, http://ledsmagazine.com/news/10/5/7

Technabob.com, Mercedes S-Class Is the First Car without any Incandescent Light Bulbs, http://technabob.com/blog/2013/05/16/mercedes-s-class-no-light-bulbs/

LA Times, Mercedes-Benz unveils all-new 2014 S-Class, http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-autos-mercedes-2014-sclass-debut-20130515,0,3823865.story

Image Source: Mercedes 2014 S-class, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/pictures/egdh45kiid/all-wheel-drive/