Audi is poised to showcase its latest developments in lighting on a new concept car at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The unnamed concept will be fitted with Audi’s pioneering Matrix organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) lights, which enable a previously unattainable level of lighting homogeneity and open up creative opportunities for design.
Rapid progress is being made in OLED technology and, once increases in light density are realized, they’ll generate turn signal and brake lights in production taillights. This is what the company will show in a concept car at Frankfurt.
“The lighting signatures at the front and rear of the car demonstrate our excellent lighting technologies,” says Audi Head of Design Marc Lichte. “In the process have a great impact on how our models look on the road.”
Unlike conventional LEDs, OLEDs are based on an organic, paste-like material. When a voltage is applied, the molecules enclosed in the material release photons, causing the surface to illuminate. Thanks to their efficiency and lightweight, OLEDs are better than LEDs in terms of energy consumption, but they also require virtually no cooling. This enables packaging to be kept at a minimum and opens up the possibility of placing lighting in areas never thought possible.
OLEDs can also be subdivided into small segments to control different brightness levels, different colors and transparency. The illuminated sub-surfaces exhibit very precise boundaries with one another. The thin glass sheets used today to encase the organic material will be replaced by plastic films and new flexible substrate materials that lend themselves to 3D forming.
This will not only open up entirely new creative spaces for exterior design but interior designers as well. And because they’re flat light sources, the lights do not cast any shadows and do not require any reflectors, light guides or similar optical components. This enables new lighting scenarios with extremely fast switchover times.
“Our lighting design stands for the perfect interplay between technology and design,” says Lichte. “[It] is a subtle design tool we use to express the character of our models even more clearly.”
Audi previously highlighted the potential of OLED technology in the ‘Audi Lighting’ concept demonstrator (with transparent, multi-colored OLEDs in the silhouette of the car) and the ‘Swarm’ concept (with a three-dimensional OLED display), both of which were unveiled at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Were looking forward to see what they’ve got in store for the Matrix OLED lighting concept in September.