In the beginning there were round incandescent headlights, then square, then halogen, then projectors and high-intensity (or gas-) discharge forward lighting. Now Osram Sylvania Inc. unveils a new headlight concept called the Zoned Lens Lamp (ZLL) that the company says offers better lighting performance at a lower cost and with less weight than projector-type lamps.

Taking cues from lighthouse optics, ZLL's lens features a series of concentric rings, which carve out zones for light to pass through. The circles combine with the lamp's reflector to create a beam pattern with smooth transitions between the longrange hot spot, side-to-side spread and the foreground light.

The ZLL is plastic and approximately 50% lighter than projector systems, which normally require metal castings, and can be 35% to 50% smaller, says a company spokesman. The ZLL fixture can house either 9005 and 9006 halogen capsules or HID light sources.

Officials say two vehicle applications for the new fixture are under development on a North American-made vehicle in the 2000 model year.