Currently, copper wires or carbon fibre systems are used to transmit data between a car’s various sensors and computers. But the wiring is relatively heavy and expensive.
With this in mind, Scientists at Warwick University’s School of Engineering are developing optical wireless systems, where data travels through beams of light. It would use LEDs or infrared bulbs, cutting weight, costs and maintenance. While overhead lights could be used to stream multimedia.
Professor Roger Green said: “Optical wireless is relatively unknown at the moment. But it's not hard to imagine a day when passengers can watch TV streamed through a beam coming from their overhead light, or when parts of the engine can 'talk' to each other without wires.”
Professor Green said he believes optical wireless is “poised to come into its own” because manufacturers would be attracted to the potential fuel savings to be had from cutting vehicle weight with the technology.
“It is also cheap to install as it can use a simple LED light source which are being mass produced at the moment,” he said.
“And it has other benefits such as its lack of electromagnetic interference and the fact that, unlike the overcrowded radio spectrum which we use for much of our data communications, optical wireless is unlimited by the technical and regulatory bandwidth limitations which exist for radio signals.”