Psychology and Physiology Color Ford’s Choice of Interior and Exterior Lighting for Autos

Ford Motor Company based in Dearborn, Michigan USA, has introduced the Crystal Diamond Light for automotive lighting.
Ford says that lighting in automobiles can affect the mood of the driver and passengers. For this reason, the company has attempted to create the best lighting environment for the driver and passengers.

Ford F150 with LED-based Crystal Diamond Light

Ford F150 with LED-based Crystal Diamond Light

“We know that gradients and homogeneity affect people’s moods,” said Arun Kumar, Ford optics expert and design engineer. “We also know the eye wants to focus on contrast changes and other inconsistencies in lighting – it’s an automatic function of the brain that can irritate mood.”

The latest solution a LED lighting innovation Ford calls Crystal Diamond Light which the company first debuted in the F150 pickup. Now the Ford Fusion features Crystal Diamond Light LED-headlights. Ford says that the new lighting is about 62 percent more efficient than the previous lighting. Furthermore, the diamond-like facets of the lens offer even, broad distribution of light.
Ford plans to use Crystal Diamond Light in other models in the future.

“The efficiency of this lighting not only helps to stabilize the psyche, but also has the potential to affect global environmental savings,” Kumar said. “As we democratize this lighting innovation to a broader audience, the impact could be significant, with millions of gallons of fuel potentially saved on a global scale.”

Ford wanted interior and exterior lighting that would appear largely the same to both men and women and would provide a very high level of color discernment and differentiation (high CRI).  The company also wanted dashboard lighting that would tend to have a calming effect.

“Another obvious issue was to design for people who have color deficiencies,” said Shannon O’Day, Ford interactions and ergonomics core engineer. “You can’t use a deep saturated red or green for dash lighting because those are colors people most typically have problems with. Eight percent of the global population has this issue, and most are male.” Ford says that red and green colors are usually limited to emergency buttons, such as hazard lighting.

Designers and engineers chose to illuminate the Ford vehicle dashboard in Ice Blue™, a color that people more easily perceived as brighter, and one that cuts through the clutter, O’Day explained. Ice Blue is the color of choice for illuminating the Ford dashboard. However,in-car controls allow customers to change ambient lighting colors in many Ford models.

Ford designers looked to human physiology to decide on the lighting for both the interior and exterior of its vehicles.
“Color is one among many factors that make lighting functional and pleasing,” O’Day said. “In the end, it’s really about the eye, what it perceives, and how it affects the driver.”

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