Interviews with Audi – OLED Technology for Communication and Safety

May 4, 2022

From April 4-6, OLEDWorks exhibited at the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting (ISAL). During this year’s event, team members from Audi and STMicroelectronics joined us in our booth to answer questions about lighting trends and the benefits that OLED technology offers the automotive industry. This video is from a series of interviews that discuss the communication capabilities of OLEDs and how lighting contributes to increased safety on the road.

What role does light play in Car-to-X communication, today and in the future?


I think that’s the main thing, the big thing for the future: communication. It’s the most important. Actually, the beginning of lighting was communication – the directional indicators to see there’s a car coming, that was communication. And in the future, we have much more possibilities because of digitalization. Our cars get more intelligent, and so we need more actuators for this. And we have these projections in the front, we have projections around the car, and one question in my session was, “Is the projection bright enough during daytime?” No, we need display on the car. And that’s actually also the reason why we think that OLED technology fits perfect because we can do display-like functionalities on the rear. We can do display-like functionalities and that’s actually great.


You know, in the end, what we started off in the past was we have good light, we have perfectly looking light, so the design is attractive and appealing. And now we make the next step that we would like to take the intelligence out of the car and start really communicating by light. So, creating information based on the situation you’re stuck in, creating a warning symbol, or giving you a hint what might come up about the next curve you’re driving around. So the question is, what can we contribute to traffic which is preventing you from getting into a dangerous situation?

What advantages does OLED technology present for exterior lighting capabilities?


This cannot be done by a bulb, which is being turned on or off, or a single LED spot which is being turned off and on. You have to create something which is more and more moving into creating shapes, which can be educated in a way to the traffic participants to understand what is upcoming. And therefore you need more display-like technologies, and OLED is the first step in this direction.


Actually, digital OLED technology offers a great amount of possibilities for car lighting designers: the individualization of the car lighting, even the emotional factor of car lighting, the personalization. And not only that, there is a great contribution to safety aspects. We have heard in the presentation sessions about the possibility of Car-to-X communication possibilities and of course, it all comes along with a focus on functional safety performance on the electronics itself.


Last year we opened up with the same technology features in our A8 facelift. And one small detail: all of them are equipped with OLED, which we are really proud of. And we are now starting to use our proximity indications, so we have the proximity sensors in our car, which are now taking the information. Somebody is close to the car and changing our light signature, so for the first time, you, as a participant in traffic, get a reaction from the car you can see in lighting, which is teaching you ‘Hey, I am close to the car’. So it is recognizing me, and I am the reason why the signature is being modified. And this is just the first step.


With the OLED technology, we have a very good opportunity to have really high contrast dimming, which allows to put in evidence the possibility of a semiconductor to have a resolution of 10 or 12, or even more bits of PWM dimming. And so you can have all shapes and flavors of smooth lighting ramps and dynamic animation scenes. And this is really special with the OLED technology.

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