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Proceedings Paper

Active materials for automotive adaptive forward lighting Part 1: system requirements vs. material properties
Author(s): Andrew C. Keefe; Alan L. Browne; Nancy L. Johnson
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Paper Abstract

Adaptive Frontlighting Systems (AFS in GM usage) improve visibility by automatically optimizing the beam pattern to accommodate road, driving and environmental conditions. By moving, modifying, and/or adding light during nighttime, inclement weather, or in sharp turns, the driver is presented with dynamic illumination not possible with static lighting systems The objective of this GM-HRL collaborative research project was to assess the potential of active materials to decrease the cost, mass, and packaging volume of current electric stepper-motor AFS designs. Solid-state active material actuators, if proved suitable for this application, could be less expensive than electric motors and have lower part count, reduced size and weight, and lower acoustic and EMF noise1. This paper documents Part 1 of the collaborative study, assessing technically mature, commercially available active materials for use as actuators. Candidate materials should reduce cost and improve AFS capabilities, such as increased angular velocity on swivel. Additional benefits to AFS resulting from active materials actuators were to be identified as well such as lower part count. In addition, several notional approaches to AFS were documented to illustrate the potential function, which is developed more fully in Part 2. Part 1 was successful in verifying the feasibility of using two active materials for AFS: shape memory alloys, and piezoelectrics. In particular, this demonstration showed that all application requirements including those on actuation speed, force, and cyclic stability to effect manipulation of the filament assembly and/or the reflector could be met by piezoelectrics (as ultrasonic motors) and SMA wire actuators.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 April 2011
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7979, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2011, 79790A (28 April 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.879815
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew C. Keefe, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
Alan L. Browne, General Motors Corp. (United States)
Nancy L. Johnson, General Motors Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7979:
Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2011
Kevin M. Farinholt; Steve F. Griffin, Editor(s)

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