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Constantly defying convention

August 2023 

Since 2004, designLED has been defying convention to create new and more useful user experiences to drive sales and profits for our customers.

From heritage in LCD BLU (Back-light unit) research and development via high value international custom architectural projects and high-volume consumer products with strategic partner IKEA of Sweden, the business is 100% focused on the exciting automotive industry.

Working with international OEM’s and their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, the designLED team specialise in solving complex optical and lighting challenges for high value and highly differentiated interior and exterior applications where space, cost, power, performance, and quality are paramount.

On the 4th of June 2021 and against a backdrop of the global Corona Virus pandemic, the business was acquired by French Automotive Tier 1 Faurecia (Clarion Electronics). The choice of new ownership based on synergy, brand, and ability to deliver the technology from concept to serial production.

The local designLED team were integrated over the following 18 months to be part of a world-class Automotive Tier 1 with over 100,000 new colleagues. (Interestingly the entire M&A process was conducted online due to the pandemic and the two teams did not meet physically until September 2021 some 3 months after the transaction – a truly remarkable achievement). Focus expanded to cover first and foremost the integration of our Light Tile technology into immersive experience display applications (almost full circle to the early days of LCD TV backlighting) and interior LED display dynamic lighting.

In 2022 Faurecia also acquired German Automotive lighting leader HELLA and the new colleagues increased to over 130,000 creating the world’s 7th largest Automotive Tier 1 combining under the newly created brand of FORVIA.

Car HMI Europe, Berlin - 18 – 20 June 2023

 The designLED team joined colleagues from Hella Behr, at a European HMI industry workshop, with designLED promoting the FCE User Experience value proposition.

Dr Derek Peden, Innovation Manager at FORVIA designLED, presented “HMI Personalisation by Lighting and Display Technologies”, at Car HMI Europe, held in Berlin on 18-20th June 2023.

The conference consisted of representatives from 16 OEMs (including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Stellantis and Ford), Tier1 and 2 companies, plus leading industry, market and technology experts from around the world. Workshops and technical presentations held over the 2.5 days, covered human-machine interface (HMI) solutions, from autonomous sensing of the interior and exterior environment, the interface presented to users (UI), the HMI software stack and the electronics and interfaces required to deliver the quality user experience (UX) expected by all users, drivers and passengers. In addition to oral presentations, the conference featured networking opportunities, peer workshops on challenges facing the entire automotive sector and a busy exhibition hall.

Derek presented a FORVIA perspective and recent activities in demonstrating HMI requirements for a high quality cockpit experience, use cases surrounding personalisation, exploring how we can create value through technology that matters to people - enhancing interiors with light with purpose to make the space more interactive, more comfortable, safer, and even entertaining. The FCE cockpit experience value proposition, from immersive display to perceptual image processing and lower resolution dynamic LED backlighting for communication was central to the presentation illustrating the potential impact LED displays can have on personalising space, uses cases and potential experiences.

In addition to the presentation, the event included participation smaller group workshops of 10-15 attendees to debate and discuss challenges facing the entire automotive sector, including,

·       “What is the future direction of automotive HMI input methods?”, discussing smart surfaces and the role of voice-driven AI;

·        “The future of HMIs beyond large in-vehicle displays”, determining that we are approaching “peak display”, with potential cognitive overload and a need to refocus on the user and technologies available to meet user requirements;

·       “Does interior lighting have a bright future in automotive user experience?”, discussing the challenges and opportunities in ambient lighting, functional lighting and automotive interior lighting under L4-L6 autonomous driving conditions.

In this third case, determined there is a positive future when care is taken to design high quality ambient and functional lighting. This best experience lies at the intersection of communication, visibility, user mood/psychology, with lighting personalisation by the user and the vehicle adapting to the local environment. Lighting is increasingly becoming one of the most evolving segments in Automotive electronics. Starting with pure illumination tasks and simple signalling functions, light today ever more is used for comfort and well-being in the car, with hundreds of coloured LEDs facilitating dynamic lighting effects. Initially for premium models, the interior light even will also be adapted to the surrounding environment with the help of Artificial Intelligence.

With the trend to more driver assistance systems on the way in the self-driving car, light in the vehicle is also increasingly taking on functional tasks, for example to warn the driver of critical traffic situations. All in all, an extensive and growing array of tasks that lighting, displays and HMI will have to perform in new vehicles, some of which are already on the road.

Original author : Dr Derek Peden, Innovation Manager, at designLED


DVN Interior Workshop 2023, Koln – 25 & 26 April 2023

FORVIA Faurecia’s Scottish team - designLED Products, showcased new innovations in Back-lighting, Displays & HMI to enhance User Experience (UX) at the recent Driving Vision News (DVN) exhibition in Paris under the banner of UI + Software = enhanced UX.

The event focussing on the rising importance of UX and lighting in consumer decision making, was attended by over 350 industry specialists including top OEM’s such as Audi, Porsche, JLR, Volvo Honda Stellantis and Geely.

This was a very significant event for the designLED team, not only as they were asked to present to the illustrious audience, but also as it was the first event in Europe where the team co-exhibited with lighting colleagues from HELLA on stand under the banner of FORVIA.

It was a wonderful opportunity to show super-thin back-lighting demonstrated in applications such as Immersive Display, and large area interactive surfaces to reduce cost and power whilst enhancing individual UX.

For Interior and Exterior applications, decorative materials were back-lit show-casing dynamic animations controlled by an in-house developed prototype APP (QUADRO) and patented touch sensitive HMI technology. These enabled change of colour, brightness, volume, customisable user content and the visualisation of ‘Digital Assistant’ feedback to occupants, or in the case of exterior applications - other road users.

Immersive Display applications showed perceived pillar-to-pillar extension of the active area of a display, possible using low resolution surface lighting, to show dynamic use case animations all driven by a simplified EE and video data source.

Image enhancement software used to personalise UX was demonstrated including SMART Dimming and C-DIVE aimed at improving image clarity and quality across user ages and demographics as well as during poor weather driving conditions whilst at the same time optimising power, cost and safety.

Stuart Bain [designLED GM] commented ‘ The key take-away from the event was that car buyers are increasingly deciding their next purchase based on user experience and sustainability. In that context, highly engaging system level lighting and display solutions with low power consumption such as the technologies we presented, will be key to driving new vehicle sales”.


DVN Paris Workshop – 31 Jan – 1 Feb 2023

 Andreas Wlasak (Vice President Design) and Tony Allison (Product Manager, FCE designLED) delivered a keynote speech at the latest DVN Interior Workshop themed around Human Centred Interior Technology.

With a presentation titled: Lumiere & personalisation of the Third Place, Andreas used the Lumiere Masterpiece to explore the concept of vehicle interior spaces as a place to work, outside of work, a place to relax outside of home, a place to be alone and a place to be with other people in an environment that can adapt to your needs.  

Tony then discussed use cases surrounding personalisation, exploring how we can create value through technology that matters to people - enhancing interiors with light with purpose to make the space more interactive, more comfortable, safer and even entertaining. The FCE cockpit experience value proposition (from immersive display to perceptual image processing and lower resolution dynamic LED backlighting for communication) was presented to illustrate the potential impact it can have on personalising space and how it is used and experienced


Join us at Automotive Interiors Expo 2022 (AIE22), Stuttgart Messe, 8-10th November


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