Ford to offer customizable LED lighting?

If the Ford Mustang's MyColor instrument panel lighting amuses you, then the announcement of a licensing agreement between the automaker and Colour Kinetics should further expand the joy. The deal allows Ford to legally use "intelligent color-controlled systems" both in the interior and on the exterior of vehicles around the world.

Actually, the deal applies to every patent CK holds, so Ford can customize the lighting on any of its vehicles in a variety of ways. Because of the digital nature of LED lighting, color can be manipulated fairly easily. This would allow Ford to leave interior accent lighting in the hands of the consumer. It could even expand to novel exterior lighting and eventually even beyond automotive applications. When Ford introduced the MyColor lighting option on the Mustang in '05, it had been sued for allegedly failing to secure the rights to this technology. This new deal should clear the way for any future projects it wants to pursue.

Full release after the jump.

[Source: Colour Kinetics] Press Release:

Color Kinetics Incorporated (NASDAQ: CLRK) today announced a global licensing agreement with Ford Global Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, that allows the dynamic personalization of automotive interiors and exteriors through intelligent LED lighting. Ford will have access to Color Kinetics' complete patent portfolio to incorporate color-controllable lighting in any of its branded or affiliate vehicles.

"Ford's license of Color Kinetics' patents marks a very exciting milestone - both for the accumulating strength of our licensing program and the penetration of LED technology into bigger, broader markets," said Bill Sims, President and CEO, Color Kinetics. We believe that the ability to personalize spaces, whether homes, workstations or even cars, has widespread market appeal, and the opportunity to put this advanced control in vehicle owners' hands is very exciting."

While single color LED sources have been applied in automotive lighting for a number of years, Ford was one of the first to capitalize on the digitally controllable nature of LEDs when it introduced the MyColor color-changing instrument panel in its Ford Mustangs. The global license will cover all sales of the Mustang MyColor instrument panel as well as other intelligent color-controllable systems that Ford may introduce in the future.

"The compact, durable nature and inherent intelligence of LEDs allow completely new uses of light, with customizable auto interiors being an excellent example," said Sims. "Color Kinetics envisioned such vertical applications years ago and developed an intellectual property portfolio that would allow us to reach ancillary markets beyond the core illumination space. This agreement epitomizes our cross-industry approach to driving adoption, and it points to what we believe is the eventual merger of illumination with intelligence."

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