Want to set the mood while you’re driving with some help ambient lighting? Hey, it’s not that kind of mood we’re thinking of (so get you’re mind out of the gutter). These days, more vehicles are adding ambient lighting as a standard or optional feature because it makes drivers feel safe.
A soft illumination around the center console, door handles and pulls, cupholders and sometimes across the dash and in the footwells, ambient lighting has, in the past, been seen as a cosmetic feature. But according to a study conducted by BMW and the Lighting Engineering Group at Ilmenau University of Technology in Germany, this type of lighting can increase a driver’s perceived safety and quality of the car.
Research from the study found that ambient lighting increases spatial perception. This makes the car interior feel more spacious and it may also decrease fatigue at night. Unfortunately, information regarding ambient lighting’s influence on helping the driver stay alert or ability regarding changing the driver’s mood or performance was inconclusive.
Other interesting facts from the study include that drivers thought this type of lighting made the vehicle’s interior design and finish more attractive and the controls easier to use.
A critical factor in the study was the brightness of the ambient lighting. When the lights got too bright, drivers complained that it became distracting. The lights had to be kept below 0.1 candelas per square meter in order to keep the glare from forming on the plastics of the interior. This helps reduce the possibility of distraction. If a vehicle does have this type of system installed, the study found that drivers want to be able to control the illumination levels.
Most automotive manufacturers already include an ambient lighting system in their vehicles, and Ford has taken it up a notch, offering consumers the choice of seven different colors to set the mood.
[Source: Kicking Tires]