It's about the curves: flexible digital OLED
Apart from refining the Digital Matrix LED headlights, digital OLED technology in particular will define the future by not being just a conventional light source. Its development points in the direction of exterior displays, that not only increase safety and enable even more personalization, but are also meant to improve communication with the outside world. However, flexible digital OLED rear lights are a step ahead of that. They have a flexible substrate that allows them to go from a two-dimensional structure to a three-dimensional one. That not only sharpens the form, but it also makes it possible to integrate digital light design within the exterior of the lights, enabling symbol displays for additional communication with the outside world.
An everyday situation: a person in a city wants to cross the street between two parked cars, but they cannot see the road because there is a truck in the way. The digital OLED rear lights not only illuminate the rear section, but also part of the side: If the car has been turned on, it also indicates an approaching vehicle before the person steps into the street, for example.
These kinds of safety-related functions and the possibilities for personalization were and are the exclusive outcome of close collaboration between light technology and light design, as Stephan Berlitz, Head of Audi Lighting Development, explains: “Those of us on the technology side work hand-in-hand with design in predevelopment as well as with the relevant licensing authorities in the preliminary stages. At Audi, light means safety above all, which means seeing and being seen. And with digitization, we have a lot more possibilities to make cars even safer.”
Cesar Muntada, Head of Light Design, adds: “Light technology and light design are inseparable at Audi. Light is a visible expression of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’ We give the car an unmistakable face and sharpen the character of the model and the brand. An Audi must be recognizable at night at the first glance, both from close up and from a distance. So, we stick to a principle that guarantees recognition, but also leaves the space necessary for the character of the particular car.”
How do we guarantee that an Audi will be recognized? With the following principle: all Audi light signatures emphasize the width of the car with distinctive, segmented light elements and accents on the outside. The combination of these segments forms a single body. When it is necessary, Audi’s light designers set all of the light signatures and functions in motion and design them so that they look good both on the car and in the projected digital image on the ground. “By repeating that principle,” Light Design chief Muntada says, “we ensure that an Audi is recognizable.”