Daytime Running Lights
“Look into my eyes!” This was the punch line of the Ghostrider when he intended to punish the sinners. It is said that eyes are a pathway to soul. We humans can emote very effectively with our eyes. Even the slightest of contortions in its shape is an indication of our mental state of being.
Guess who studies this phenomena extensively? Designers. It is a well-known fact that humans tend to look for faces in abstract shapes. Hence, we have products which seem to mimic the human face and have their own character. Today, we’ll look at one such feature which gives character to the cars we see on the road.
Of late, a lot of cars have been launched with this special feature called DRL , Daytime Running Lights. The Audis have made it their signature statement and the new Scorpio seems to have taken a shine to it. Although I noticed this feature in the cars quite recently, the truth is they’ve been around for a while. Their original purpose was (and is) to improve conspicuity of the motor vehicle in which they are attached. Simply put, they are like highlights that aim to make the vehicle stand out in low light conditions. DRLs were first mandated in Scandinavian countries where ambient light levels in winter are quite low even during the day. Sweden was the first country to necessitate DRLs in 1977.
Trust our designers to look for scantest of elements and turn it into a style statement. What started out as a safety feature has now turned into a signature. While the headlamps themselves have a different specialisation in terms of car design, the additional highlight provided by the DRL makes the car look more alive. It seems to be more aware of what is happening around it.
All is never hunky dory. For the DRL to function the extra energy that it needs ultimately comes from the fuel that goes in the car. In principle, the fuel efficiency is definitely hit depending upon the power that is consumed in the DRL system. LEDs offer a better choice in terms of light source, but their comparative higher cost means that LED DRLs remain in the premium segment.
DRLs are hypnotic. If done tastefully they can enhance the look of the car by leaps and bounds. The eye of the car is suddenly lit up (quite literally) and the whole system does look more engaging. The next time you see an Audi on the road remember why you couldn’t take your eyes off of it!