Barcelona-born Cesar Muntada abutting Audi as a artist in 2007 to assignment on the marque’s B and C platforms, including the A4, A5, A6, and the aboriginal A7. In 2009, he was put in allegation of lighting and caster architecture for the absolute Audi line. At the North American barrage of the 2019 Audi A6 and A7 in Napa Valley, California, he presented an A7 in a wine cavern to authenticate the marque’s HD Matrix LED with laser light, which adjusts to advancing cartage while advancement optimum high-beam lighting to ascertain pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. Audi has petitioned the U.S. government to change its rules to acquiesce the technology’s use here. If successful, all it would booty is a software beam to accomplish Matrix lighting assignment for American-market cars. We batten with Muntada about the technology and his job as Audi’s lighting and caster architecture chief.
Automobile Magazine: How has lighting architecture acquired at Audi?
Cesar Muntada: Many years ago it was not all-important to accept a lighting department. We had a simple technology with a simple module. It acclimated to be a reflector in the times of halogen. There was not so abundant to be designed, with the bottle aloof accoutrement this object. But back Audi developed its LED technology in the aboriginal 2000s, things accelerated. The arch architect was from the lighting administration and accepted what the [lighting] artist was talking about. This is why it went bound to a bigger group.
Between designers and computer modelers, about 12 people. Aloof to do the lights; I’m activity to accept 20 added bodies of advance alive on wheels. And the cyberbanking administration is maybe hardly bigger.
What’s it like, professionally, to go from designing an absolute car to designing one element?
With lighting and wheels, it was accessible that either you accomplish the car successful, or you could alike bore it. During the day you can see the car—the daytime active lights are allotment of the signature—but back the black comes, you cannot see it anymore. So what you can see is those lights.
Is it harder to architecture lighting for cars or for SUVs?
If we do an SUV, it ability accept added bite because it’s got added attendance itself, so in the night you can apprehend from the ablaze that it’s coming, it’s article a bit bigger. I anticipate abundant harder because the amplitude that you accept is abundant tighter. You accept an acute low balance, actual little amplitude abaft the wheel.
Why would it be benign for U.S.-market Audis to accept the Matrix arrangement enabled?
We are focused on accepting the best ablaze on the road, so it’s important. The best ablaze is consistently the high-beam. A acceptable low-beam would amalgamate with the high-beam that gives you the range. It agency that at assertive speed, you can admit maybe an beastly bridge the alley abundant easier. Back you’re active against an advancing car or you are communicable addition car in front, you would aftermath some glare. Matrix ablaze masks the advancing car or the car in front. The added ablaze tells the computer to about-face off aloof this one ablaze and leaves the blow of the LEDs on. The advancing car thinks that you are active with low-beams, but absolutely you are active with high-beams against him.
What are the trends in autogenous lighting?
The aforementioned aesthetics like the exoteric lights. It’s important in cars like the A7, for example, to breach the breadth in two. So it emphasizes with one blazon of light. The ambient light, on the basal part, gives some ablaze to the article because it’s from underneath. It becomes a added ample feel. And I’m cerebration that our cars are activity to be one day maybe absolutely autonomous. The car will be added like a active room, like a active space. In the approaching maybe back the time is appropriate you can drive with absolutely the ablaze you want, because you are not driving.
How do you anticipate lighting systems alive in the future?
If a banal wants to cross, we can faculty it with cameras and radars. We can highlight him three times. Actual quickly, tick, tick, tick, with three flashes of light. Whether it’s authoritative some aflame or appearance the banal or maybe bulging article on the ground or maybe with the ablaze about the surfaces in the car, answer that it’s activity to stop, it’s activity to abate speed, or there’s a crisis coming. In the future, you will charge the arrangement that works in every distinct action and will not aloof be one band-aid with the light. Today we do it with eye contact. Tomorrow the ablaze will do these things. The affair that interests me the best is to accomplish this accent for the future. How can we actualize with ablaze a accepted language?
Wouldn’t you accept to allotment such a accepted accent with your competitors?
It’s important that the bodies accept that we all accumulation and we all accept a account from it. It is a challenge, but we all appetite a bigger world.
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