The wonderful new world of indicators

The indicator is defined as “lighting equipment on vehicles providing information to road users about a change or intended change in the direction of travel. It is usually shown as a regularly flashing light”. It’s not so long ago that indicator lights weren’t even noticed all that much and weren’t really needed that often. In our three-parter, we look at historical developments in the modern era using various examples and show you how indicators have changed over the past few decades. In the third and final part new cars flash in the weirdest of places. Enjoy.

Indicators
Indicators are no longer amber – they only flash amber.

Lights are making their way into the side mirrors

After it hadn’t escaped anyone’s notice that indicator lights only at the front and rear could lead to confusion with increasing traffic, a third lamp appeared on each side of the front fender. It was easy to integrate into the design of the vehicles; at the same time the front and rear lights shifted a little around the corner of the car. In current vehicles there are usually still three lamps on each side, but customer taste made designers run riot. From the fender many side indicators moved up to the side mirrors, where, depending on the model, they also have to compete with the proximity sensor in the mirror. Since the side mirrors are now the size of bathroom mirrors (in comparison to the 80s …), there is a lot of space. Fair enough.

Indicators
It’s normal now to have indicators in the side mirrors.

Bold design with integrated lamps

Another customer request, or at least what designers tried to put into customers’ heads and pass off as a request, is the new design of the headlights and rear lights. Thanks to LED technology, any number of shapes are now possible in which the amber indicator is integrated somewhere. The plastic covers from the lampholders extend around the vehicle corners all the way up to the driver’s door; at the back they taper up to the roof, sticking out like dominant side spoilers. Yup, we’re still talking about lamps. Quietly and secretly, design has caught up with us and is now racing past us at full throttle. But if you like that, all well and good. Light in any shape or color is always worth a look.

Indicators
Indicators as a result of excessive design

What happens now?

We can look to the future with excitement. Will the design of lamps in the changing automotive industry be even more extravagant? Or will it go back to its roots? Given that indicators are so strikingly integrated into the vehicle’s body, will they really be used as actual indicators again one day? After all, most of us have pretty much given up on them these days. Either way, the team at Osram will continue to keep you up to date. Stay curious and keep indicating.

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