Ambient lighting refers less to instrument panel lighting than to the indirect interior illumination that gives the driver a sense of orientation and spaciousness as well as feelings of safety, comfort, and even a sense of pride in value. Ambient lighting delivers an emotional atmosphere and, according to carmakers, ties together exterior and interior lighting conditions for the driver for decreased levels of driving fatigue. Ambient lighting makes a statement as well as an impact on the driving experience. Today ambient interior lighting can be adjusted to the point of becoming a fashion statement; primarily only in high-end vehicles from Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. However, this technology continues to work its way down the chain to lower-cost models.
Ambient lighting was used initially as a cosmetic feature. While gentle ambient lighting can make a car’s interior more attractive and affect consumer quality perceptions, many believe it can also increase driver safety. Most ambient lighting today reflects a light source off interior surfaces and is designed to help the driver see when he or she enters or exits the vehicle, manipulate driving controls, and impact mood, alertness and comfort.
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