Audi’s Dr. Michael Kruppa Presents on the Future of OLED Lighting at SIA VISION

Apr 6, 2021 | Technology, Transportation

Last month was the 2021 SIA VISION Virtual Conference which brought together some of the best and brightest in the automotive industry. Hosted by the French Society of Automotive Engineers (SIA) and typically based in Paris, this year’s conference was held virtually to accommodate for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the presentations that excited us the most was by Dr. Michael Kruppa, Audi’s Head of Lighting Functions, Innovations, and Taillights on Digital Light for Safety and Communication. Here were our favorite takeaways from his presentation.

LEDs Cannot Copy OLED Rear Light Performance

After discussing recent innovation in LED headlights and headlight projections, Dr. Kruppa shifted his attention to digital OLED taillights (Digital OLED Technology). Here, he discussed the potential of OLEDs to create multi-segmented systems that have crisp and clear segmentation without the crosstalk that you would experience with “surface” LED technology that goes for light distribution by scattering means. “Multi-segment OLED fulfills all existing requirements for an exterior display” says Dr. Kruppa and can be used to personalize drivers’ vehicles, as well as communicate with those behind the vehicle for improved safety.

Audi Q5 with OLED Taillights

With the incredible design and communication capabilities of OLED lighting, it is no shock that other technologies would try to offer similar benefits. However, Dr. Kruppa’s presentation clearly states that this level of performance “can not be copied with LED solutions”. In fact, Dr. Kruppa predicts that OLED lighting is the only light source that will be able to offer this level of performance at this cost for the next ten to fifteen years.

OLED Rear Lighting is Gaining Support

With continued development and support by Audi, one of the leaders in automotive lighting innovation, OLED lighting technology continues to see an increase in awareness and adoption. And with the launch of the Audi Q5 in 2020 which includes Digital OLED taillights, this technology received a wave of support and anticipation for more.

Dr. Kruppa’s presentation shared headlines from periodicals around the world like Yahoo! News, Quattro Daily, Top Gear, and The West Australian that each showed excitement about the addition of OLED lighting in this vehicle. With the inclusion of OLED lighting in future Audi vehicles, it is a great sign to already see such a positive response to this new technology.

OLED Lighting Continues to Evolve

The Audi Q5 included what Audi is calling Digital OLED 1.0 technology, a panel that consists of less than 10 individually addressable segments. Toward the end of his presentation, Dr. Kruppa revealed that Audi is hoping to include Digital OLED 2.0 technology in their portfolio starting in 2022, which are panels that contain greater than 50 individually addressable segments. The higher number of segments in these panels will allow for greater customizability, clearer warning indicators to increase safety, and a more active display-like performance.

Digital OLED Technology Comparison

In addition, Audi is currently working on flexible OLED lighting alongside OLED technology manufacturer OLEDWorks and Corning, who develops the flexible glass that the OLED light will use as a substrate. “In the future, our intention is to not have a limitation by a rigid glass plate,” says Dr. Kruppa, which will allow them to create rear lighting designs that follow the curve of the car.

Dr. Kruppa, SIA VISION

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