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Case Study

Design and Optimization of a Reflector for the Headlights of a Solar-Powered Racecar


According to race regulations, the car is required to have permanently-ON headlights. These are by far the biggest consumer of power in the electrical system (roughly 82%). To limit power consumption and increase the efficiency of the car, we must design an optimized reflector to direct all light in the pattern as specified by the UNECE regulations, without stray light.

Simulations allow us to quickly arrive at the optical reflector shape, resulting in the lowest power consumption while validating that the design meets regulations.


Engineering Solution

  • Source properties library. This ensures that we can quickly, easily, and more accurately model our optics design.
  • Irradiance sensor and ability to set pass/fail measurements on the results. This makes it easy to validate that our design meets the regulations, while being able to determine how much power will be needed.
  • Ability to modify imported geometry with the reflector surface . This avoids having to go back and forth between our main CAD software and Speos when iterating, which saves time and frustration.



  • Using Speos, we were able to design lights that meet the regulations using 3-5x less power than otherwise. This not only leaves more power available for the motor, but also significantly diminishes concerns of overheating and lets us use smaller and cheaper lights.
  • With this project, the team gained real-world experience into the often overlooked world of optical design simulations such as reflector design and light physics. We learned how to interpret and design for real UNECE regulations.


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