Our recent visit to Consumer Reports Automotive testing facility in Connecticut was a great opportunity for us to gather with industry leaders in the field of automotive lighting. Check out the highlights of the trip.
Safety is the highest criteria for Consumer Reports’ headlight testing. The ratings reflect how well a driver can see what’s ahead.
Low beam visibility counts the most in their ratings. Headlight brightness and a uniform pattern of light that make the headlight more pleasing also factor in to their ratings. HID and LEDs are typically brighter and often illuminate better, but the straight-ahead visibility differences vary in their tests.
The first step they confirm the alignment of the headlights using a computerized laser system in their indoor lab. They also include an evaluation of how much stray light shines above the headlights, which can illuminate precipitation when weather is poor.
Next, they move outdoors to test the headlights on their track on a dark, moonless night. Their specialists set up a series of black targets at prescribed intervals and widths along an almost 1,000 foot-long level section of track. They look at the low and high beam performance, evaluating reach, intensity, width, and the evenness of the light pattern.
Straight-ahead illumination is most important because it determines how much time and distance the headlights allow a driver to see, reach, and brake for pedestrians, animals, or objects in the road. They also note glare effects, whether the lights would be discomforting to an oncoming driver. Then they determine whether the cutoff is so sharp that it reduces the headlight’s range as the car moves around curves, over dips and uneven roads or how it may contribute to oncoming glare.
It was a great opportunity for us to see the challenges that car makers face along with their design groups to make the best headlights to receive a high level rating by Consumer Reports. Visits such as these, have pushed us to continue to evolve with the industry and to lead the way in headlight aiming and testing equipment. We offer solutions for lab, qc, and manufacturing environments which cover a variety of lighting needs such as headlights, taillights, and more. Don’t let the headaches of trying to figure this out on your own. Rely on our years of experience to relieve that stress.
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*Thank you to Consumer Reports for the invite to your facility as well as the information in this article. Visit https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/ for more details.
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