Automotive parts supplier Magna today announced its latest innovation. Its “Breakthrough Lighting” technology allows an automaker to turn the entirety of a vehicle’s liftgate into a lighting element.
The company is showing off the technology’s capabilities with, what it calls, a “Litgate.” The part is an entire vehicle liftgate that has been turned into a lighting element.
“Magna’s Breakthrough Lighting enables increased design freedom and features more options for brand differentiation that can elevate our customers’ experiences,” said Grahame Burrow, Global President of Magna Exteriors. “As the industry builds significant momentum around electrified and autonomous vehicles, we expect more desire for developments like this that are seamlessly integrated into exterior surfaces.”
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Breakthrough Lighting is hidden in the material until lit, making it look like a normal body panel. That makes it easier (and potentially cheaper) to incorporate lighting into a vehicle’s design. Thanks to the use of thermoplastic materials, meanwhile, the lighting panels can be molded into complex shapes, again making them easier to add to a vehicle.
That, predicts Magna, will make it appealing to designers, who are increasingly using lighting elements to distinguish a vehicle’s appearance. They are not, however, the only ones the technology could appeal to.
Because of the size of the panels that are possible with Breakthrough Lighting, engineers designing advanced driver assistance and autonomous technologies could find it useful, too. With a large canvas on which to draw with lights of multiple colors, they could use the panels to communicate important safety information to other road users.
Unlike autonomous driving, though, this isn’t some distant technology that may or may not happen. Magna expects Breakthrough Lighting to be ready for production in 2023.