Auto Bild Explores How Digital OLED Lighting Increases Safety on the Road

Auto Bild, a leading German automotive magazine, released an article this week discussing how digital lighting technologies can increase safety on the road. Based on the activities and conversations during TechDay hosted by Audi, Auto Bild outlines the benefits of digital matrix LED headlights and digital OLED rear lighting, which are becoming increasingly visible in Audi’s premiere vehicle offerings like the newly redesigned A8. The author explains the basics of how OLEDs work and goes on to explore Audi’s goal of incorporating 600 segments per OLED panel in future models for increased personalization and communication capabilities.

Below are some excerpts from the article relating to OLED lighting.

*Original article content below translated from German to English

Rear lights: digital OLED technology as a means of communication

But not only the headlights are now being digitized at Audi, the taillights are also getting new functions thanks to digital OLED technology (Organic Light-Emitting Diode).

What the Ingolstadt company started with the dynamic indicators is now to be continued in terms of design with the small glass panels.

Bendable OLED demonstrator
Bendable OLED demonstrator, courtesy of Auto Bild

Eight OLED units, each with six light areas, already produce a special light signature in the A8 facelift , which can even be changed from the interior.

In the future, the company even plans to pack up to 600 light elements on just one panel. In this way, detailed warning symbols can be displayed in the lights and the environment can be interacted with.

How OLEDs work

Basically, OLEDs work like classic LEDs, except that they do not generate a single point of light, but rather shine on a defined area. Different layers in the OLED modules allow the applied current to act on the surface.

In the electronics sector, even displays based on this technology have become established. Since OLEDs are self-illuminating and do not require a backlight, they have extremely high contrast.

Segmented OLED prototype
OLED prototype with nearly 600 segments each, courtesy of Auto Bild

The black point of such displays is also significantly lower than that of conventional displays. While different colors can be shown in displays, only the color red has been common in the automotive sector so far.

The chemistry used in the OLED units has so far not made it possible to display white color tones; at least not in a quality that manufacturers imagine. In the future, Audi is also working on white OLEDs for their vehicles.

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