Blue light at night, fleet operator’s delight

Daimler conduct experiments to determine whether exposing truck drivers to blue light in their vehicle cabs can improve their performance on the road

A team of Daimler test drivers drove in cabs bathed in blue light as part of the performance experiment.
A team of Daimler test drivers drove in cabs bathed in blue light as part of the performance experiment.

Daimler has conducted a series of experiments to determine whether exposing truck drivers to blue light in their vehicle cabs can improve their performance on the road.

A total of eight Daimler test drivers simulated two typical working weeks for truckers at a site in Finland, driving at night on wintry roads, to allow a research team from Daimler to ask that question.

The truckers alternated between driving for one week in a truck cab with conventional lighting and for another week in a cab with a Daylight+ module that provides additional daylight while driving and during breaks.

Siegfried Rothe, project manager and head of the experiment, presented the following working hypothesis: that an application of biologically effective light with a wavelength of between 460 and 490 nanometres has positive effects.

In the event, the subjective condition of all test subjects improved significantly under the influence of an additional dose of light, regardless of the time of day. Another finding proved surprising: the test drivers with more daylight in the cab drove more economically.

At the end of the two-week cycles, the individual drivers were interviewed, and consistently reported that they perceived the space inside the cab to be considerably more pleasant with the additional light fitting.

“When designing the series of tests, we hadn’t even considered that the space might appear larger,” noted Rothe, adding that it will take several months to analyse the data from the experiments.

“Only then we will be able to make a recommendation as to whether the test findings should advisably lead to changes in the design of cab lighting.”

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