Audi is optimistic about OLED automotive lighting
Audi, the German automaker, has long been the industry's biggest fan of using OLEDs in taillights. The company has repeatedly emphasized that this technology has the dual advantages of design and safety, from which it can be seen that it is obsessed with OLED taillight design. And now, Audi has another reason to support OLED automotive lighting: it may become a new source of income for it.
In a recent online discussion with OLED supplier OLEDWorks, Audi's head of lighting development Stephan Berlitz hinted that Audi could offer far more than the four dynamic design options it currently offers, and that it could expand the technology to include It currently includes the three models adopted.
It is reported that in 2017, Audi launched OLED taillights as an option for its A8 luxury model, using Osram products at that time. But as Osram scaled back its investment in the technology, the two companies gradually parted ways. Since then, Audi has been working with an Asian supplier, which Audi declined to name, as well as OLEDWorks in Rochester, N.Y.
Today, drivers in Audi's high-end S8 luxury sedan can even switch back and forth between four geometric light-controlled looks - Audi calls them "signatures" - by clicking controls on the vehicle's multimedia interface (MMI) system , with high light and dark contrast.
That will continue as Audi expands its stable of "iconic designs." At the same time, according to Berlitz, Audi is also considering mobile phone-based control, and the digital nature of the OLED panel precisely makes it capable of this control.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are thin sheets of material that emit light in response to an electrical current, thus offering better design, look and feel, and energy-saving advantages. Since OLED technology is self-illuminating, it does not require a backlight. This allows automakers to create lightweight, flat units, increasing design flexibility and enabling more complex shapes and curved display installations.
In contrast, LED is only a light-emitting diode with a single point light source. Although the price is lower, it has very limited space to play in the design of automobile taillight lighting. Although LED is currently superior to OLED in terms of luminous life and manufacturing cost, the cost gap between the two is gradually narrowing.
Seeing these advantages become more and more prominent, Audi is considering providing the right to use all "iconic designs" for a fee. Berlitz told OLEDWorks CEO David DeJoy: "In the future, we certainly hope that customers will choose these solutions, maybe choose these iconic designs through on-demand functions." How it works, Berlitz thinks the cost of these iconic designs could be "a dollar at a time, maybe $50 a month, $200 for the lifetime."
In May of this year, Audi launched the new A8 equipped with OLED automotive lighting, and carried out a new design on the shape and function of the taillight light source, which has also become a new highlight in the automotive manufacturing and design industry. Audi currently offers four car lighting modes on its S8 limousine, a more powerful version based on the previous A8 limousine offering three "signature designs". Subsequent Audi marketing materials clarified that there were four on the S8 version of the A8, compared to three on the previous A8.
Today, breakthroughs have been made in the technical difficulties of OLED taillight applications, and high-end cars are bound to usher in new progress in exploring OLED automotive lighting. At present, several car manufacturers (including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Bugatti and Hongqi) have begun to adopt OLED lighting solutions on car taillights, and some manufacturers use them as optional modules. In the future, it is expected that more high-end cars will use OLED taillights as standard components to bring better feelings and experience to drivers, thereby enhancing the competitiveness and added value of their own car products.