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History of Automotive Lighting

Milestones on our way to future

Automotive Lighting was founded in 1999 as a joint venture of Magneti Marelli and Robert Bosch. This offered the opportunity to combine the knowledge in lighting technology of two companies with longstanding experience.

The history of Magneti Marelli lighting division is based on the acquisition of Carello SPA in 1988 and therefore can be traced back to the beginning of 20th century. In 1912 began the production of electrical automobile headlamps in Italy. A significant progress was the invention of “Bosch-Lighting” in 1913. Today Automotive Lighting is a full subsidiary of Magneti Marelli Group.

Below you will find some key milestones in the evolution of lighting technology for all companies united under Automotive Lighting today. Navigate over the timeline and discover the history of Automotive Lighting.

More than 100 years of growth

  • 2019

    Let's go!
    Always ready for new challenges.
  • 2018

    First High Resolution Projector Type Headlamp
    Automotive Lighting started a limited series production of IDEAL “Intelligent Digital Electronic Automotive Lighting” headlamps with high resolution DLP-technology (“Digital Light Processing”) using intelligent DMD-units (“Digital Mirror Devices”) for Mercedes-Benz Maybach line.
  • 2018

    First Camera-Controlled LASER Headlamp with ADB
    Automotive Lighting introduced intelligent ADB-headlamps with second generation LASER-modules and integrated safety control concept. Electronically controlled LASER-modules are generating Glarefree High Beam and adapt electro-mechanically the vertical and horizontal cut-off-lines.
  • 2017

    First Adaptive All-LED Headlamp with Multi-Colour Chips
    Automotive Lighting launched DS7 headlamp with 7 mechatronic actuators per lamp, multi-colour (RGB) chips generating 11 lighting functions controlled by 3 level communication network (CAN, LINext, LINint) – A real magic movement.
  • 2016

    Adaptive All-LED Taillamp
    with sparkling shell reflectors including the functions “ambient light adaptation”, “emergency signaling” and “collision warning” for Mercedes-Benz E-Class on the market.
  • 2016

    First REAL MATRIX Headlamp on the Road
    The matrix module with 84 pixel in 3 rows was engineered and developed for Mercedes-Benz. Series production at Automotive Lighting started early 2017.
  • 2015

    Automotive Lighting and Audi
    are honored by the Red Dot Design Award. “Best of the Best” for the headlamp of Audi TT3 electronic 1-row matrix.
  • 2015

    Automotive Lighting
    received the Red Dot Design Award. “Winner” for the taillamp concept with OLED-lightsources and progressively animated functions.
  • 2015

    Plant opening in China
    The joint-venture of Automotive Lighting the Chinese state owned enterprise China South Industries Group (CSI), is located in the three-million-city Xiaogan in the southeast Chinese province Hubei.
  • 2014

    LASER-battle by BMW and Audi
    With BMW i8, the bavarian carmaker brings the first Laser High Beam on the road. Audi speeds up and announces at the same time its first Laser High Beam in the R8 LMX model. The headlamp of Audi was made by Automotive Lighting.
  • 2014

    EU Eco Innovation Certificate
    The scalable e-Light with a power consumption of 11 Watt in the low beam was been honored as eco innovation by the European Commission. It allows for a CO2 saving of 1 g / km per car. One of the first eco innovations hornored by the EU.
  • 2013

    Worldwide first ALL-LED Taillamp with Progressive Turn-Signal
    Automotive Lighting starts series production of application of ALL-LED taillamp with a progressively wiping turn signal for Audi R8 series.
  • 2013

    All-LED Headlamp with electro-mechanical ADB
    Automotive Lighting proves that the glare-free high beam can be realized by dynamic reflectors BMW 4- and 6-Series.
  • 2013

    First intelligent All-LED Headlamp with ANV and PML
    The intelligent adaptive headlamp with Active Night Vision (ANV) in IRED-technology and Pulsed Marker Light (using motoric controlled cutoff-line) is launched by Automotive Lighting in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
  • 2012

    100 years of Electrical Automotive Lighting
    Technology anniversary celebrating
    • since 1978 vehicle lighting from Carello
    • since 1912 electrical automotive lighting from Carello
    • since 1913 full electric lighting systems from Bosch
  • 2011

    Red Dot Design Award
    for the design of the intelligent camera controlled All-LED headlamp “Intelligent Light System” (ILS) of Mercedes-Benz CLS 2nd generation.
  • 2011

    Introduction of the PML for Pedestrian Protection
    The world’s first LED „Active Night Vision“ system (ANV) with LED-based „Pulsed Marker Light“ (PML) is introduced in the Mercedes-Benz in CL-class Coupe.
  • 2010

    Daimler Innovation Award
    for the camera controlled All-LED headlamp. The intelligent high-performance headlamp in the Mercedes CLS was presented in 2010 in Paris: The All-LED headlamp adapts automatically the beam pattern using electric actuators in a dynamic mode corresponding to all driving situation.
  • 2010

    First Fully Electronical Controlled Adaptive All-LED Headlamp
    Camera-controlled all-LED-headlamp with electronically controlled adaptive functions started in series production for Audi A7.
  • 2009

    First 3D-Lightbar Application in LED-Taillamps
    Second generation of light-guide technology started to be produced using thick 3-dimensional light bar optics for BMW 7-series taillamps. Developed by Automotive Lighting, Tolmezzo, Italy.
  • 2008

    Joint Venture for Indian Market
    A joint venture of Magneti Marelli and Motherson Sumi Systems for lighting products was founded in India.
  • 2008

    First World-Wide Series All-LED Headlamp
    Audi and AL developed the first „true“ All-LED headlamp for the Audi R8. The first time that all lighting functions of a vehicle headlamp were realized by using only electronical light sources.

    First standard LED ECU for high-power main lighting functions.

    Automotive Lighting's first All-LED headlamp in the Audi R8 was awarded the „red dot award“ in 2008 in the category of product design.
  • 2007

    First All-LED taillamp Jaguar XKR
    with 6 functions in semiconductor technology from Automotive Lighting, St. Julien, France.
  • 2006

    Launch of production plant in China
    Automotive Lighting started to produce lamps in a chinese manufacturing plant.
  • 2005

    Acquisition of Turkish Supplier MAKO
    With the industrial site of Mako at Bursa in Turkey Automotive Lighting extended his footprint and the competences of exterior lighting and other products into the middle eastern area.
  • 2005

    AFS with Active Infrared Emitter in Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    In 2005, Mercedes-Benz created a sensation with the first world-wide sold active night vision System ANV. Like the AFS-headlamp as a whole, the active infrared emitter is supplied by Automotive Lighting, Brotterode, Germany.
  • 2003

    Automotive Lighting
    becomes 100 % subsidiary of Magneti Marelli.
  • 2003

    Introduction of Dynamic Curve Light
    BMW launches Xenon headlamps with dynamically swivelled projector units. Automotive Lighting started in 2003 to equip several BMW series with this new adaptive lighting technology: 3, 6 and X3-Series.

    Integrated AFS Xenon ECUs: “AL-Box”
    Automotive Lighting developed the AL-Box, the world first fully integrated Xenon ECU with steppermotor driver and intelligent CAN-Bus gateway for BMW’ and Mercedes-Benz’ headlamps.
  • 2003

    First adaptive rearlighting system
    using the automatically activated Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) function from Automotive Lighting for Peugeot 807.
  • 2001

    Acquisition of rear lamp supplier Seima
    The Seima Group consists of the companies Axo, Yorka, Seima italiana. The distribution of the shares in the joint venture of Bosch and Magneti Marelli changes: Magneti Marelli 75 %, Bosch 25 %.
  • 2001

    First Neon Taillamp worldwide
    Rearlighting systems based on Neon-technology opened again new styling opportunities. The challenging electronical control for this innovative technology limited however large-scale implementation. Developed by Seima/Automotive Lighting in Tolmezzo, Italy for BMW Z8.
  • 1999

    Joint venture of Bosch and Magneti Marelli
    A new global lighting player is created: Automotive Lighting.
  • 1997

    First All-LED Taillamp
    A rearlighting unit with tailfunction, turn-indicator and brake light all in LED technology. Produced by Seima, Italy for Maserati 3200 GT.
  • 1991

    Xenon-Light
    A new epoque in vehicle lighting started – Xenon-light: Electronic controlled and ignitor switched high intensity discharge bulbs were used the first time in series cars‘ headlamps. Light color changed from 2.800 to 4.600 K – close to daylight. The luminous flux of these first Xenon bulbs trippled the light performance from former 1.000 to more than 3.000 lm. A visibility range of 125 m in low beam and 250 m in high beam mode improved the safety conditions of night time driving.
  • 1988

    Magneti Marelli grows
    Magneti Marelli (*1919) acquires Carello (*1876).
  • 1987

    Magneti Marelli lights
    Magneti Marelli founds the Lighting Group.
  • 1986

    BMW 7-Series Projector Type Headlamp
    Instead of parabolic reflectors used so far, this headlamp was the first to have projectors with aspheric inner lenses and reflector surfaces in the form of a three-axis ellipsoid, with the bulb in the focal point (Hella “DE” or Bosch “PES” headlamp).
  • 1971

    H4 Halogen Dual Filament Bulb
    Bosch introduces a H4 dual filament bulb headlamp with one reflector for both beam modes: Main and dipped beam.
  • 1962

    Halogen Auxiliary Lights
    Introduction of the first Halogen auxiliary lights. The Halogen technology increased the light output for a given power consumption of an incadescent light bulb and eliminated black-ening of the bulb glass with usage.
  • 1955

    Asymmetric Low Beam
    1955 Bosch Patent DE 1071621 for asymmetric low beam.
    Asymmetric low beam from Bosch in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which significantly improve vision at night from 60 to 85 m.
  • 1928

    Multi-Cavity Multi-Function Lamp
    Rearlighting from Bosch encorporating various functions are produced for Mercedes 26/120/180 PS Typ S.
    Introduction of trafficator lights.
  • 1924

    OSRAM Bilux Bulbs
    with individual filament which can be switched between high and low beam with a performance of 60 m range and a luminance of 1 lux.
  • 1921

    Complete Exterior Lighting System
    Mercedes Knight with Bosch electric lighting system including main headlamp, position lamp, front light for curves and a side illumination lamp, trafficator and electrical rear light. The first car series equipped with full electric exterior lighting system.
  • 1913

    Complete Electric Bosch Frontighting System
    Hispano Suiza used the first fully electrical Bosch lighting system including with alternator, regulator, battery, switch and headlamps.

    Bosch Patent
    CH 66597A
    for electric headlamps
  • 1912

    Carello’s First Electric Headlamp
    Carello started the series production of the first electrical headlamp for motorcars in Italy.
  • 1906

    First Electric Bulb for Vehicles
    Philips light bulb with a vibration resistant tungsten filament.