Canadian Manufacturing

Ford challenges suppliers to develop next-gen automotive LED lighting

Automaker, not-for-profit NextEnergy hoping to accelerate development of LED lighting for automotive applications

DEARBORN, Mich.—Ford Motor Co. and Michigan-based not-for-profit NextEnergy have issued a challenge to suppliers in the hopes of accelerating the development of light-emitting diode (LED) automotive lighting.

According to the automaker and the advanced energy technology accelerator, the challenge is comprised of five components all related to advancing the automotive applications of LED lighting.

Some of the lighting innovation challenges Ford and NextEnergy will ask participants to address include:

  • Featherweight challenge: Develop lighting products that create the greatest amount of light with the lowest weight
  • Design for manufacturing challenge: Conceive ways to make existing lighting technology cost-effective and suitable for high-volume production
  • Daylighting LEDs: Create interior ceiling LED lights that emulate daylight
  • Structural lighting: Integrate LED and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting in interior and exterior structural components
  • Lifecycle challenge: Foster the design of recyclable lighting technology, including biodegradable lighting

“NextEnergy’s collaboration with Ford will encourage open innovation,” NextEnergy president and CEO Jean Redfield said in a statement.

“While this technology challenge will solicit global solutions, we expect Michigan’s advanced lighting industry to be among the solution providers, driving significant economic activity in the state.”

The challenge will launch Nov. 19.

Competing teams will present their ideas late next year to a panel of Ford and NextEnergy experts, with one or more prizes awarded.

The prizes, provided by the state of Michigan through Michigan Economic Development Corp. and NextEnergy, will include as much as US$40,000.

Wayne Bahr, chief engineer of Ford’s global body exterior systems, said the challenge should help the automaker “innovate faster and increase the capability of our lighting supply base.”

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