Picture a car that lights up as you walk toward it. And no, I'm not talking about Knight Rider's KITT.
This car is Volkswagen's new ID.3 electric car, intended to be a new standard bearer for the German company. And it is using plexiglass in its lighting system to help it stand out.
Material supplier Röhm GmbH is supplying the plastics used to provide a "warm welcome" to drivers. Walk up to the car and the headlights turn on as a greeting.
"I am always touched how light creates an emotional attachment between humans and cars," Sandra Sturmat, who designs how light behaves in the Volkswagen User Experience Design Team, said in a news release from Röhm. For example, "opening its eyes and looking at you" are typical characteristics of the Volkswagen ID family.
While I'm not sure if having a car look at me is exactly what I want in my next car, VW and Röhm say future developments of electric and autonomous vehicles will put an even stronger emphasis on smart lighting. For instance, an LED strip may be able to let pedestrians know that it is safe to cross a street.
(You can see the welcome lighting system in this video from VW.)