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Visible Light Communication Could Simplify Car Electronics

By The Engineer

September 5, 2012

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Warwick University researchers are studying replacing the wiring inside cars with devices that communicate via light signals. The researchers, led by Warwick professor Roger Green, have demonstrated how visible light communication (VLC) could simplify and lighten the electronic systems in cars.

VLC is a method of encoding data with light from an light-emitting diode that switches on and off faster than can be detected by the human eye. "There is a lot of weight and a lot of work required to transfer signals around a vehicle," Green notes. "But there are also lots of spaces that light signals could be sent through: Air-conditioning ducts, hollow doors, and engine compartments that could be illuminated."

The researchers note that VLC is better than radio frequency wireless technology because light signals are not affected by electrical interference and are not subject to telecommunication regulation, which means that multiple light frequencies could be used to transmit high volumes of information. "We need to think about what happens to the light when it reaches a corner and how much it is reflected, what colors of light we need to use depending on the coating inside the pipe," Green says.

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