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Title:
A LAMP ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE, AND A VEHICLE COMPRISING SUCH A LAMP ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/046369
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A lamp assembly for a vehicle comprises an at least partially transparent lens or assembly lens cover configured to receive, in use, light from a light source. The assembly is configured such that, when it is installed on a vehicle, at least a component of the received light exits the lens or assembly lens cover and then crosses a longitudinal axis of the vehicle. When a moveable closure such as a tailgate adjacent the lamp assembly is in a closed position, the component of the received light also passes through a transparent or semi-transparent element of or on the moveable closure.

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Inventors:
ESDERS, James (Patents Department W/1/073 Abbey Road Whitley, Coventry Warwickshire CV3 4LF, CV3 4LF, GB)
Application Number:
EP2017/071766
Publication Date:
March 15, 2018
Filing Date:
August 30, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JAGUAR LAND ROVER LIMITED (Abbey Road Whitley, Coventry Warwickshire CV3 4LF, CV3 4LF, GB)
International Classes:
B60Q1/00; B60Q1/26; B60Q1/30; F21V5/00; F21V8/00
Foreign References:
DE102004002225A12005-08-04
JP2016091846A2016-05-23
DE102013017859A12014-07-03
US20160138773A12016-05-19
JPS59174942U1984-11-22
JP2016105420A2016-06-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DITUM, Caroline (Jaguar Land Rover, Patents Department W/1/073 Abbey Road Whitley, Coventry Warwickshire CV3 4LF, CV3 4LF, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A lamp assembly for a vehicle, the lamp assembly comprising: an at least partially transparent lens or lens cover configured to receive, in use, light from a light source, the assembly being configured such that, when the lamp assembly is installed on a vehicle, at least a component of the received light exits the lens or lens cover and then crosses a longitudinal axis of the vehicle; wherein, when a moveable closure adjacent the assembly is in a closed position, the component of the received light also passes through a transparent or semi-transparent element of or on the moveable closure. 2. The lamp assembly of claim 1 , wherein at least some of the component is reflected along at least one curved surface of the lens or lens cover before exiting the lens or lens cover.

3. The lamp assembly of claim 1 or 2, wherein the lens or lens cover includes an inner curved surface and an outer curved surface. 4. The lamp assembly of claim 3, configured such that at least some of the light from the light source is internally reflected from the inner curved surface of the lens or lens cover and the reflection from the inner curved surface reflects the light away from the vehicle.

5. The lamp assembly of claim 3 or 4, wherein at least some of the component is internally reflected from the inner and outer curved surfaces of the lens or lens cover.

6. The lamp assembly of any one of claims 3 to 5, wherein the inner curved surface is partly or wholly silvered.

7. The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, configured such that at least some of the light from the light source does not cross the longitudinal axis. 8. The lamp assembly of claim 7, comprising a first light redirector for redirecting the component such that it exits the lens or lens cover.

9. The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the lens or lens cover comprises a second light redirector for redirecting at least some of the light other than the component.

10. The lamp assembly of claim 8 or 9, wherein the first and/or second light redirector comprises a diffusor, a reflector and/or a refractor.

1 1 . The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, wherein a surface of the lens or lens cover through which the component exits the lens or lens cover is substantially parallel to a surface of the transparent or semi-transparent element when the closure is in the closed position.

12. The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the closure is a boot/trunk lid or tailgate.

13. The lamp assembly of claim 12, wherein the light source is for a tail light or a stop light.

14. The lamp assembly of any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein the closure is a bonnet/hood.

15. The lamp assembly of claim 12 or 14, wherein the light source is for a parking light, a turn indicator or a fog light. 16. The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, configured such that the component crosses the longitudinal axis of the vehicle at an angle of at least 45 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis.

17. The lamp assembly of any preceding claim, comprising the light source.

18. A headlamp assembly or a tail-light assembly, comprising the lamp assembly of any one of claims 1 to 17.

19. A vehicle comprising: a lamp assembly; and a moveable closure comprising a transparent or semi-transparent element; the lamp assembly, the moveable closure and the transparent or semi- transparent element all being as defined in any one of claims 1 to 17.

Description:
A LAMP ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE, AND A VEHICLE COMPRISING SUCH A

LAMP ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF INVENTION The present invention relates to a lamp assembly for a vehicle. The invention has been developed for use in automotive tail-light assemblies and will be described with reference to that application. It will be appreciated, however, that the invention has application in other contexts, such as in headlight assemblies.

BACKGROUND An automotive tail-light assembly may include one or more lamp types, such as turn indication lights ("indicators"), parking lights, fog lights and/or tail-lights. Increasingly, the lights for some or all of these functions are integrated into a single pre-assembled housing that can be installed during manufacture of a vehicle such as a car.

Certain lights of the lamp assembly may need to meet visibility requirements when installed in a car. For example, a parking light may need to be visible not just from directly behind the car, but also from some angle across the rear of the car. This requirement may be driven by functionality and/or legal requirements. For example, it may be a legal requirement for a parking light on one side of a car to be visible from the other side of the car at some particular angle, such as 45 degrees. As shown in Fig. 1 , where the rear 100 of a car 102 is relatively square in plan, a parking light 104 is easily visible to a viewer 106 located 45 degrees off to the right hand side of the car 102. The parking light 104 is visible irrespective of whether a tailgate 108 is in the open or closed position.

Over time, the rear corners of cars have become increasingly raked (in plan), at least in part to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel economy. Boot/trunk lids, bonnets/hoods, and in particular tailgates, in some cases are designed such that they increasingly wrap around the sides of cars. Because of these factors, a tail-light assembly on one side of the car becomes decreasingly visible from the other side of the car. For example, as shown in Fig. 2 (in which reference numbers from Fig. 1 are used to indicate like features), the position of the left parking light 104 and configuration of the wrap-around tailgate 108, combined with the steep rake of the rear 100 of the car 102, means that the left parking light 104 is obscured from the viewer 106 located 45 degrees off to the right hand side of the car 102. The actual viewing angle is considerably less than 45 degrees.

This problem may be addressed by adding a supplementary light source on the tailgate that is visible from the desired angle, such as, for example, from 45 degrees off to the opposite side of the car. However, this adds cost and complexity, especially where several lights within a lamp assembly may need to meet visibility requirements. Moreover, visibility requirements may need to be met even when a tailgate or bonnet/hood is open. This may complicate or even preclude the use of such a supplementary light source to meet the required viewing angle requirements. SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In accordance with a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a lamp assembly for a vehicle, the lamp assembly comprising: an at least partially transparent lens or lens cover configured to receive, in use, light from a light source, the assembly being configured such that, when the lamp assembly is installed on a vehicle, at least a component of the received light exits the lens or lens cover and then crosses a longitudinal axis of the vehicle; wherein, when a moveable closure adjacent the assembly is in a closed position, the component of the received light also passes through a transparent or semi-transparent element of, or on, the moveable closure. At least some of the component may be reflected along at least one curved surface of the lens or lens cover before exiting the lens or lens cover.

The lens or lens cover may include an inner curved surface and an outer curved surface. The inner curved surface and optionally the outer curved surface may, for example, form a guide around the light emitted from the light source. The outer curved surface may be arranged outboard of the light source, for example such that it faces the exterior environment when the lamp assembly is installed on a vehicle. The inner curved surface may be arranged inboard of the light source, for example arranged against a surface of the vehicle's bodywork. The lamp assembly may be configured such that at least some of the light from the light source is internally reflected from the inner curved surface of the lens or lens cover and the reflection from the inner curved surface may reflect the light away from the vehicle. Advantageously, the reflection from the inner curved surface of the lens or lens cover may mean that less light intensity is lost by transmission/absorption through the inner curved surface.

The inner curved surface may be partly or wholly silvered.

For example, the inner curved surface may be coated in a reflective substance, such as sputtered aluminium, silver and/or gold. Consequently, the inner curved surface includes a reflective substance that increases the surface's reflectivity. Advantageously, the silvered inner curved surface may reflect more light and less light intensity may be lost by transmission/absorption through the inner curved surface as a result.

At least some of the component may be internally reflected from the inner and outer curved surfaces of the lens or lens cover. The lamp assembly may be configured such that at least some of the light from the light source does not cross the longitudinal axis.

The lamp assembly may comprise a first light redirector for redirecting the component such that it exits the lens or lens cover.

The lens or lens cover may comprise a second light redirector for redirecting at least some of the light other than the component.

The first and/or second light redirector may comprise a diffusor, a reflector and/or a refractor.

A surface of the lens or lens cover through which the component exits the lens or lens cover may be substantially parallel to a surface of the element when the closure is in the closed position. The closure may be a boot/trunk lid or tailgate. In that case, the light source may be for a tail light or a stop light.

The closure may be a bonnet/hood. In that case, the light source may be for a parking light, a turn indicator or a fog light. The lamp assembly may be configured such that the component crosses the longitudinal axis of the vehicle at an angle of at least 45 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis.

The lamp assembly may comprise the light source.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a headlamp assembly or a tail-light assembly, comprising the lamp assembly according to the first aspect of the invention.

According to the third aspect of the invention, there is provided a vehicle comprising a lamp assembly and a moveable closure comprising a transparent or semi-transparent element, in accordance with the first aspect of the invention. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a plan view of the rear of a car;

Fig. 2 is a plan view of the rear of a different car to that of Fig. 1 , with more steeply raked rear corners and a wrap-around tailgate;

Fig. 3 is a perspective view of a lamp assembly according to the invention, along with a tailgate assembly;

Fig. 4 is a front elevation of the lamp assembly and tailgate assembly of Fig. 3, with the lamp assembly lens cover removed; Fig. 5 is a diagonal elevation of the light assembly and tailgate assembly of Fig 3, with the lamp assembly lens cover removed. Fig. 6 is a schematic view of a horizontal section through a lamp assembly according to the invention;

Fig. 7 is a schematic view of a horizontal section through an alternative lamp assembly according to the invention; Fig. 8 is a side elevation of a vehicle in the form of a car comprising a lamp assembly according to the invention; and

Fig. 9 is a plan view of the rear of a car comprising a lamp assembly according to the invention.

All drawings are schematic and are not to scale. Some details may have been omitted or simplified to assist in understanding how an embodiment and/or the invention operates. No drawing should be interpreted as relating to a particular vehicle model or type.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to Figs 3 to 5, a lamp assembly in the form of a tail-light assembly 200 includes a transparent assembly lens cover 202. The assembly lens cover 202 is omitted from Figs 4 and 5 for clarity.

The assembly lens cover 202 is configured to receive light from a light source. In the illustrated embodiments, the light source comprises first and second light-emitting diode (LED) lights 204 and 206. It will be understood that each of LED lights 204 and 206 may include one or more LEDs along with any reflecting and/or refracting features needed to focus, collimate or defocus the light from the LED(s) so that it moves in the desired direction with the desired dispersion characteristics. In this embodiment, the LED light 204 is for a parking light, but in other embodiments may be for an indicator, fog light, tail-light, or other light of the type used in vehicle lamp assemblies. For the sake of brevity, the functionality of the tail-light assembly 200 will only be described in relation to LED light 204. The functionality of the tail-light assembly 200 in relation to LED light 206 is not described further, as it mirrors that of LED light 204. The LED light 204 is housed in angled pocket 208 in a housing 210 of the tail-light assembly 200. As best shown in Fig. 3, the assembly lens cover 202 covers the LED light 204 in use.

As best shown in Fig. 8, the tail-light assembly 200 is installed on a vehicle in the form of a car 216. The tail-light assembly 200 is positioned near the rear corner of the car 216, adjacent a moveable closure of the car 216 in the form of a tailgate 218. The tailgate 218 includes a tailgate assembly 220, comprising a tailgate housing 222 and a transparent element in the form of a tailgate lens cover 224 as best shown in Fig. 3.

Operation of the tail-light assembly 200 will now be described with reference to a first embodiment as shown in Fig. 6. The embodiment of Fig. 6 is shown schematically only, and the features and details of that embodiment may differ somewhat relative to the embodiment illustrated in Figs 3 to 5 despite the common inventive functionality.

As shown in Fig. 6, in which reference numbers from Figs 3 to 5 are used to indicate like features, the assembly lens cover 202 defines a lamp assembly void 203 between itself and the housing 210. Similarly, the tailgate lens cover 224 defines a tailgate assembly void 225 between itself and the tailgate housing 222. Both voids are optional, and indeed are not present in the embodiment of Fig. 7 described below.

LED light 204 produces light as indicated by a first ray 230, a second ray 232 and a third ray 234. The first, second and third rays should not be understood as individual rays of light, but instead are used to represent example paths of the totality of the light output by the first LED light 204. A component of the light, including the first ray 230, received by the assembly lens cover 202 exits the assembly lens cover 202 through a first surface 236 thereof.

When the tailgate 218 is in the closed position shown in Fig. 6, the first surface 236 of the assembly lens cover 202 is approximately parallel to a second surface 238 of the tailgate lens cover 224. A gap 240 between the first surface 236 and the second surface 238 may be several millimetres, for example. After exiting the assembly lens cover 202 via first surface 236, the component traverses the gap 240, enters the tailgate lens cover 224 via the second surface, then passes through the tailgate lens cover 224. After passing through the tailgate lens cover 224, the component crosses a longitudinal axis 244 of the car 216 (see Fig. 9).

When the tailgate 218 is in the open position (not shown), the tailgate assembly 220 (and hence the tailgate lens cover 224) is no longer adjacent the tail-light assembly 200. Accordingly, when the tailgate 218 is in the open position, the component of the light, including first ray 230, that would have passed through the tail-light lens cover 224 is instead free to travel directly through the longitudinal axis 244 of the car 216.

The tail-light assembly 200 may be configured such that an angle at which the component crosses the longitudinal axis 244 is at least some particular angle, such as 45 degrees, relative to the longitudinal axis 244. This angle may be selected to meet regulatory or safety requirements for example. In a particular embodiment, the angle may be selected such that at least a certain amount or proportion of the light forming the component is visible to a viewer 106 standing at 45 degrees from the tail-light assembly 200 as shown in Fig. 9. In the embodiment of Fig. 6, the tailgate lens cover 224 comprises an optional first tailgate diffusor 226 associated with the first LED light source 204 and a second tailgate diffusor 228 associated with the second LED light source 206. As with the first and second LED lights 204 and 206, only the operation of the first tailgate diffusor 226 will be described in detail; the second tailgate diffusor 228 operates similarly. The first tailgate diffusor 226 receives light from the LED light 204, including first ray 230, and diffuses at least some of it as shown by arrows 246. This diffused light assists in making the car 216 visible to viewer behind the car 216.

In addition, in alternative embodiments, some or all of the diffused light indicated by arrows 246 may comprise some or all of the light passing through the longitudinal axis 244 of the car.

Where optionally provided, the first tailgate diffusor 226 may take any suitable form. It may, for example, take the form of features such as dots, lines, shapes, random features, or any combination thereof, that are moulded, machined, chemically etched or additively manufactured on or in a surface of the tailgate lens cover 224 to diffuse light. The first tailgate diffusor 226 may include a translucent layer or portion that is either formed on or integrally with the tailgate lens cover 224, or is part of a separate component that is assembled onto the tailgate lens cover 224. Such assembly may involve, for example, adhesives, chemical- or temperature-based bonding, and/or mechanical fastening by way of one or more fasteners such as screws, clips, bolts or clamps. The assembly lens cover 202 optionally includes a first diffusor 214 that receives some of the light from the LED light 204. The light received by the first diffusor 214 may be received directly from the LED light 204, or may be at least partly reflected first by a reflective material (not shown) within pocket 208. The tail-light assembly 200 and first diffusor 214 may be configured such that at least some of the light that strikes the first diffusor 214 does not cross the longitudinal axis 244.

Optionally, the tailgate assembly 220 may include one or more additional light sources, such as tailgate light 248. These light source(s) may be for different purposes to the LED lights 204 and 206, or may supplement the light of one or more of LED lights 204 and 206 when the tailgate 218 is in the closed position. Although not shown in Fig. 6, in other embodiments, internal reflection may take place from an internal surface 203 of the assembly lens cover 202. This reflection is similar to the internal reflection described in relation to Fig. 7 below, although the reflection takes place within the lamp assembly void 209. Alternatively or in addition, similar internal reflection may take place from an internal surface 203 of the tailgate lens cover 224 (where no first tailgate diffusor 226 is provided, or at least where any such first tailgate diffusor either leaves space on the internal surface 206 for such internal reflection, or itself partly internally reflects the light).

Turning to Fig. 7, in which reference numbers from Figs 3 to 6 are used to indicate like features, there is shown a further embodiment of the invention in which there is no lamp assembly void 209 or tailgate assembly void 225. Instead, an assembly lens cover 302 (corresponding to assembly lens cover 202 in Fig. 6) and a tailgate lens cover 324 (corresponding to tailgate lens cover 224 in Fig. 6) are instead solid transparent components.

Instead of light from the LED light 204 being directed into a void such as lamp assembly void 209 (see Fig. 6), the LED light 204 is configured such that it directs light through an interior of the assembly lens cover 302, as indicated by fourth ray 250, fifth ray 252 and sixth ray 254. The fourth, fifth and sixth rays should not be understood as individual rays or light, but instead are used to represent example paths of the totality of the light output by the first LED light 204. A component of the light, including the fourth ray 250, fifth ray 252 and sixth ray 254, is received by the assembly lens cover 302 and exits the assembly lens cover 302 through a first surface 336 thereof.

In the embodiment of Fig. 7, some of the light is reflected along at least one curved surface of the assembly lens cover 302. In the embodiment of Fig. 7, this curved surface includes an outer curved surface 256, and the light reflected off it is exemplified by the fourth ray 250 and the fifth ray 252. The reflection may be a result of total internal reflection due to the angle of incidence of the light from the LED light 204. The outer curved surface 256 may be partly or wholly silvered or otherwise reflective or partly reflective, so as to reflect the light internally. The reflection may be a combination of internal reflection and ordinary reflection, depending on the angle at which light from the LED light 204 strikes the outer curved surface 256. In the embodiment of Fig. 7, some of the light is internally reflected from both the outer curved surface 256 and an inner curved surface 258 of the assembly lens cover 302, as exemplified by the sixth ray 254. As with the outer curved surface 256, the reflection from the inner curved surface 258 may be a result of total internal reflection due to the angle of incidence of the light from the LED light 204. As with the outer curved surface 256, the inner curved surface 258 may be partly or wholly silvered or otherwise reflective or partly reflective, so as to reflect the light internally. As with the outer curved surface 256, the reflection from the inner curved surface 258 may be a combination of internal reflection and ordinary reflection, depending on the angle at which light from the LED light 204 strikes the inner curved surface 258. However, unlike the outer curved surface 256, the reflection from the inner curved surface 258 reflects the light outward and away from the car 216 and the longitudinal axis 244. More specifically, all of the light reflected from inner curved surface 258 reflects away from the car 216. In this manner, less light intensity is lost through the inner curved surface 258. As with the Fig. 6 embodiment, when the tailgate 218 is in the closed position shown in Fig. 7, a first surface 336 of the assembly lens cover 302 is approximately parallel to a second surface 338 of the tailgate lens cover 324. A gap 340 between the first surface 336 and the second surface 338 may be several millimetres, for example. After exiting the assembly lens cover 302 via first surface 336, the component traverses the gap 340, enters the tailgate lens cover 324 via the second surface 338, then passes through the tailgate lens cover 324. In contrast to the Fig. 6 embodiment, not all of the component passing into the tailgate lens cover 324 strikes a tailgate diffusor 326 (corresponding with first tailgate diffusor 226 shown in Fig. 6). Instead, some of the component, exemplified by fourth ray 250 and sixth ray 254, directly exits the tailgate lens cover 324 without striking any diffusor. This portion of the component then crosses a longitudinal axis 244 of the car 216. The remainder of the component, as exemplified by fifth ray 252, strikes the optional third tailgate diffusor 326 and is diffused as shown by arrows 260. The diffused light 260 behaves as described in relation to the diffused light 246 of Fig. 6.

When the tailgate 218 is in the open position (not shown), the tailgate assembly 220 (and hence the tailgate lens cover 324) is no longer adjacent the tail-light assembly 200. Accordingly, when the tailgate 218 is in the open position, the component of the light, including the fourth ray 250, fifth ray 252 and sixth ray 254, that would have passed through the tail-light lens cover 324 is instead free to travel directly through the longitudinal axis 244 of the car 216.

As with the embodiment of Fig. 6, the tail-light assembly 200 may be configured such that an angle at which the component crosses the longitudinal axis 244 is at least some particular angle, such as 45 degrees, relative to the longitudinal axis 244. This angle may be selected to meet regulatory or safety requirements for example. In a particular embodiment, the angle may be selected such that at least a certain amount or proportion of the light forming the component is visible to a viewer 106 standing at 45 degrees from the tail-light assembly 200 as shown in Fig. 9.

Where optionally provided, the third tailgate diffusor 326 may take any suitable form. It may, for example, take the form of features such as dots, lines, shapes, random features, or any combination thereof, that are moulded, machined, chemically etched or additively manufactured on or in a surface of the tailgate lens cover 324 to diffuse light. The third tailgate diffusor 326 may include a translucent layer or portion that is either formed on or integrally with the tailgate lens cover 324, or is part of a separate component that is assembled onto the tailgate lens cover 324. Such assembly may involve, for example, adhesives, chemical- or temperature-based bonding, and/or mechanical fastening by way of one or more fasteners such as screws, clips, bolts or clamps.

Although not shown in Fig. 7, the assembly lens cover 302 may optionally include a diffusor that diffuses some of the light rather than internally reflecting it. The diffusor may be positioned similarly to the first diffusor 214, for example. The tail-light assembly 200 and any such diffusor may be configured such that at least some of the light that strikes the diffusor does not cross the longitudinal axis 244.

Any combination of the structures described above may be employed to achieve a desired outcome. For example, the assembly lens cover 302 of Fig. 7 may be combined with the tailgate lens cover 224 of Fig. 6, and conversely the assembly lens cover 202 of Fig. 6 may be combined with the tailgate lens cover 324 of Fig. 7. Other alternative structures described herein may also be combined as required.

Turning to Figs 8 and 9, there is shown a vehicle in the form of the car 216 comprising the tail-light assembly 200 and a closure in the form of the tailgate 218.

While internal reflection and diffusors have been described as mechanisms for redirecting light received from the LED light 204, it will be appreciated that one or more other light redirectors may be employed in different embodiments. For example, a first light redirector (not shown) such as a diffusor, reflector, refractor, or any combination thereof, may redirect the above described light component from the LED light 204 such that the component exits the assembly lens cover 202/302. The first light redirector may form part of the assembly lens cover 202/302, be mounted in contact with, or adjacent to, the assembly lens cover 202/302 or the LED light 204, or be positioned anywhere between the LED light 204 and the assembly lens cover 202/302. In another example, a second light redirector (not shown) such as a diffusor, reflector, refractor, or any combination thereof, may redirect at least some light other than the above described light component from the LED light 204 such that the at least some other light exits the assembly lens cover 202/302 without entering the tailgate lens cover 224/324. The second light redirector may form part of the assembly lens cover 202/302, be mounted in contact with, or adjacent to, the assembly lens cover 202/302 or the LED light 204, or be positioned anywhere between the LED light 204 and the assembly lens cover 202/302.

Turning to Figs 8 and 9, there is shown a vehicle in the form of the car 216 comprising the tail-light assembly 200 and a closure in the form of the tailgate 218. Although the closure has been described as being a tailgate, it will be appreciated that it may take other forms. For example, the closure may be a boot lid or trunk lid. In that case, the light source may be for a tail light, a stop light, a parking light or a turn indicator, for example.

Alternatively, the closure may be a bonnet or a hood 212. In that case, the light source may be for a parking light, a turn indicator or a fog light, for example.

Although the light source has been described as forming part of the lamp assembly, it will be appreciated that in some embodiments the light source may form part of an assembly that is mounted to the vehicle separately to the lamp assembly. Alternatively, the light source may be mounted directly to the vehicle.

Although the embodiments are described with reference to an assembly lens cover 202/302, the skilled person will appreciate that similar functionality may be attained using a lens (or lenses) rather than, or in addition to, the assembly lens cover 202/302. In that case, the above-described component of the received light exits the lens rather than the lens cover and then crosses a longitudinal axis of the vehicle. Alternatively or in addition, a lens may be employed in place of, or in addition to, the tailgate lens cover 224/324.

The assembly lens cover 202/302 (and lens, in any embodiment that uses lenses) may be formed from any suitable transparent, partially transparent, or translucent material, such as glass or acrylic, or combination thereof. While in general it is anticipated that the lens cover or lens will be continuously curved in plan, the particular shape of the lens cover or lens may be chosen to suit a given application. For example the lens or lens cover, or at least an inner or outer surface thereof, may comprise a series of planar surfaces, each abutting adjacent planar surface(s) at an oblique angle. The lens or lens cover may also be of composite construction, formed of two or more individual pieces. Any or all of the diffusors described herein may take the form of a single element, area or region. Alternatively, any or all of the diffusors may take the form of several spaced apart elements, areas or regions such that light striking the spaces between the elements, areas or regions is not diffused. The light source has been described as being LED-based, but may take the form of one or several LEDs, organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), halogen lamps, incandescent lamps, high intensity discharge lamps, fluorescent lamps, any other suitable light source, or any combination thereof. Where required, the light source incorporates suitable light focusing elements, collimators or defocusing elements. These can include any suitable combination of reflectors (such as straight, curved, concave or convex mirrors), refractors (such as curved lenses, Fresnel lenses, and/or prisms), and any other element that redirects the primary light produced by the light source into a suitable form.

The skilled person will understand that the term "ray" used herein is intended to include within its scope a spread of light that is not all moving at precisely the same angle. For example, a converging or diverging cone of light may still be considered as being a "ray". Such a spread of light may be intentional, for example such that only a portion of the light is higher than a critical angle for internal reflection, so that only some of the light is reflected. The invention may be used for one or several of the lights within a lamp assembly. For example, the embodiments above refer to a parking light, but the invention may equally be applied to an indicator light, a fog light, a tail-light, or any other sort of light that may be used in such light assemblies. Where the invention is applied to more than one such light within a particular assembly, the lights may share one or both of the LED lights 204 and 206, or may have their own separate light sources.

The invention has been described in the context of a car tail-light assembly. The skilled person will appreciate that the invention also has application in other forms of vehicle, such as trucks and motorbikes. The invention also has application in other types of lamp assemblies, such as headlamp assemblies. Although the invention has been described with reference to a number of specific embodiments, the skilled person will appreciate that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.