From electronic systems that prevent accidents by automatic emergency braking to systems that actively monitor the overtired driver to adaptive front lighting, LED-based infrared light sources are being deployed inside and outside the vehicle to increase safety.

Research shows many traffic accidents could have been prevented with the latest technology. Electronic systems can react more quickly than drivers and prevent accidents by automatic emergency braking. If a crash is unavoidable, they significantly help minimize the consequences.

The reliable detection of traffic in front of the car is crucial to these systems. LED-based optical components play a key role in this application.

Traffic situations are too complex to be registered by a single sensor, and reliability is indispensable for automatic emergency braking or for pre-crash preparation when a collision is unavoidable.

Braking incorrectly can cause serious rear-end collisions. What is more, unintentionally triggering pyrotechnical belt tensioners and airbags generates high costs. Automotive manufacturers therefore rely on information from several kinds of sensors, including radar, its light-based sister-technology LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and, above all, cameras.

While LIDAR and radar are effective for detecting obstacles and measuring the distance and speed of other traffic participants, the camera provides other essential information: It can determine, for example, whether an obstacle is a large piece of paper flying around or a bicycle. Evaluation of the camera image also helps detect pedestrians and generally is suited to “seeing” everything going on around a vehicle.