North American Lighting is the leading tier one supplier of vehicle lighting to auto makers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. NAL produces a full range of products including forward lighting, signal lighting, rear combination lighting, accessory lighting, and our upcoming all-digital adaptive driving beam lighting systems.
Over the years, we’ve systematically transformed standard, round, one-size-fits-all headlamp components into stylish, integrated lighting systems specially designed for each auto brand and vehicle model. Our technologies enhance vehicle styling and performance, while also being highly energy efficient and eco-friendly. Whatever the auto stylist’s vision—from striking jewel-like, multi-projector arrays, to brilliant 3D optical rear combination lamps—NAL’s stylists and design engineers are creating the signature looks today’s auto brands require.
The challenge of great product design is manufacturability. That’s where NAL’s product engineers come in. Bridging the gap between design concepts and manufacturing, they integrate state-of-the-art lamp, lens and control technologies into exotic, sculptural designs that can be mass produced to exacting standards. Beyond optical calibration and manufacturability, we also focus on improving vehicle aerodynamics, reducing electrical system draw, increasing fuel efficiency, and establishing strict lamp uniformity and reliability.
To learn more about NAL’s technical innovations, see our automotive lighting firsts.
Rapid Advances in Lighting Technology
NAL is a leader in emerging lighting technologies. While we have the largest number of HID headlamps in the field today, traditional halogen lamps remain the dominant lighting technology. In 2012, we produced zero LED lamps. Yet less than four years later, 2016 LED production is projected to rise to 27%. That’s unprecedented growth, especially for the automotive industry. And with conservative estimates projecting our LED sales to surpass 50% in 2018, NAL is in the fast lane to an LED-lit future.
Soon after, in 1979, Koito introduced what was then a radically new concept—uniquely shaped headlamps, engineered specifically to fit individual vehicle designs. These new lighting designs were so popular with automotive stylists and consumers alike, Koito began production and sales of an all new, C-6 halogen bulb in 1982. In 1983, Koito launched North American Lighting as their first United States subsidiary.
High-Intensity Discharge Lamps
Producing three times the brightness, and having twice the life span of competing lamps, demand for our HID lighting systems soared. Working with Koito, NAL quickly ramped up HID production to meet the increasing demand from automakers in the United States and Canada.
These compact high-efficiency HID lamps easily matched the performance of the original, larger HIDs, while being more economical and environmentally-friendly. Aesthetically, their small form factor, high efficiency and jewel-like radiance launched a new era of bold automotive styling and brilliant lighting design.
This graph shows the rapid advancements in LED lighting performance. By refining the optical properties of lenses and reflectors, and enhancing the performance of digital controllers, the number of required LEDs has been reduced from five separate LED units, down to a single LED unit.
Koito debuted the industry’s first production LED headlamp in 2007, as a high-end option on the Lexus LS 600h hybrid luxury sedan. Today, LED headlamps are standard equipment on every 2016 Toyota Corolla. Given this pace of innovation, it’s clear to see why LEDs from North American Lighting are the eco-friendly choice for high-performance, high-style automotive lighting systems.
Adaptive Driving Beam
Upcoming ADB headlamp systems will improve drivers’ forward and side vision, while reducing glare for other motorists and pedestrians. Next-generation ADB systems will soon enhance the night driving experience by using integrated cameras and sensors to detect vehicles, pedestrians and even wildlife ahead and on the roadside. Intelligent ADB lighting systems can control each LED unit independently. They increase light output for wide-field illumination when the road ahead is clear, then automatically dim, split between high beams and low beams, and can even deactivate individual LEDs when they sense approaching, intersecting or merging traffic. Already approved and available in Europe, Australia and other countries, in October 2018, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was moving forward to allow Adaptive Driving Beam technology in vehicles on U.S. roads.
Intelligent Adaptive Driving Beams—now everyone can see, and be seen.
OLEDs are unique because they can be formed into ultra-light, super-thin flexible films that emit light. They can be shaped and contoured to fit curved surfaces, and are completely transparent when turned off. While OLEDs for automotive applications are in the early stages of research and development, they offer intriguing design possibilities as signal lamps, novel accessory lights, and even as illuminated badging and branding.
As leading innovators in automotive lighting technology, Koito and NAL’s research and development teams are looking ahead to next-generation products. While still in development, LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) lamps are expected to surpass LEDs as next-generation light sources. Laser’s advantage is a high-luminance beam that can focus tightly over very long distances, and may offer enhanced visual acuity, augmented driving cues, and instantaneous adaptive dimming. Of course for now, such speculation is the stuff of science fiction. Or is it?
Lexus images courtesy of, and copyright by, ©Lexus, a Division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Acura images courtesy of, and copyright by, ©Acura.
Subaru images courtesy of, and copyright by, ©Subaru of America, Inc.
Lincoln and Mustang images courtesy of, and copyright by, ©Ford Motor Company.