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Little things mean a lot

John Day

John Day

Posted Jul 7, 2010

“Lights on a car door handle? What’s so great about that,” I wondered when I first saw Magna International demo the feature. But then I noticed that it wasn’t just the door handle that was illuminated, but also the ground next to the door, and it wasn’t just an ordinary light shining down but also a projected logo. That’s when I realized just how brilliant an idea door handle projection lighting is.

Aftermarket kits are available to illuminate door handles, but I’ve not yet seen anything like Magna’s door handle projection lighting, which the firm is marketing  to automakers.

Smart key fob technology allows an owner to unlock his/her vehicle without removing the fob from their pocket or purse. Unlocking the door typically turns on an interior light, but ponder for a moment the extra value in an exterior light, especially in a dark area. The primary value is the security of knowing that no one is lurking in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle, and that there is nothing slippery, squishy, or otherwise unpleasant to step in prior to ingress. Illuminating the door handle reduces the possibility that an owner’s jewelry will scratch the vehicle’s surface. Women to whom I described the feature saw the benefits immediately. Then, of course, there’s the projected logo, which, presumably could be customized to, say, a sports fan’s delight. Imagine (your favorite team) door handles!

Door handle projection lighting might seem like a little thing but so, in historical context, is a TV remote. It’s not really all that far from the chair to the set, but how many of us would be willing to give up the remote?

According to a recent article posted at, Elaine Bannon, Ford chief engineer for crossover vehicles, says the first order of business for a five-seater CUV is finding convenient, logical and secure places for all your stuff – storage nooks engineered into the door pockets, center console and center stack. Like a cup holder, for example, not that anyone would drink a hot beverage while driving.

Cup holders and projecting lighting for door handles. They may be little things, but they mean a lot.

door handle projection lighting, Elaine Bannon, CUV, smart key fob,, Ford, Magna International

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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