At CES 2013 in Las Vegas, the world’s most important electronics trade show, AUDI unveiled its new lighting technologies solutions for tomorrow. The brand already offers LED headlights in many model series. The new technologies that Audi is developing for the future boast a high degree of intelligence and are controlled entirely electronically.
Three central themes are emerging: the lighting on tomorrow’s Audi models will react even more intensively to environmental conditions, it will communicate in various ways with its surroundings and in this way will increase active safety still further. The light of the future will be controlled fully electronically and become an even more compelling proposition thanks to new dynamic functions.
Audi Matrix LED headlights
The “Matrix Beam” principle consists of dividing the LED main-beam headlight up into a large number of individual segments. The small individual diodes backed by lenses or reflectors always provide excellent illumination without needing a swiveling mechanism. They are simply switched on and off individually or dimmed to suit the situation. The Audi Matrix LED headlights obtain the information they need from a camera, the navigation system or additional sensors. If the camera detects other vehicles, these innovative headlights fade out the appropriate area of the high-beam headlights, which contain various light-source sectors. The headlights can also illuminate the areas between several vehicles in complex situations. Based on navigation data, the high-beam headlight anticipates the bend and swivels to illuminate the road before the driver has even turned the wheel.
Laser tail light
The laser tail light is generated by a laser diode and provides drivers behind with a bright, clear signal. In good visibility the fan-shaped laser tail light that shines slightly downward is perceived as a red line on the road and prompts the driver behind to maintain sufficient distance – similar to a stop line. In fog or spray, the laser beam strikes the water droplets in the air and makes them visible; the line is then seen as a triangle. The laser tail light looks like a large warning triangle.
OLED technology is yet another example of Audi’s pioneering work in the vehicle lighting area. The abbreviation stands for organic light emitting diode. Unlike the LEDs currently in use, which consist of semiconductor crystals, OLEDs are made from an organic material. The material is spread extremely thinly – the coating is only a few thousandths of a millimeter thick – on an absolutely flat surface such as highly polished display glass. When an electrical voltage is applied, the molecules emit photons and the surface lights up. The light distribution is very homogeneous and very energy-efficient. They are ideally suited for use inside the vehicle or in rear lights. External light design using OLED technology, which Audi is aiming to adopt, will be as intelligent as it is attractive. It can, for example, react to the approaching driver, follow his or her movements and highlight the main contours of the vehicle or the door handle. When the driver has entered the car, restrained OLED lighting will become active inside.
A scenario in the OLED technology area to which intensive thought has already been devoted is the “swarm”. The Audi engineers have transformed a vehicle’s rear end into a large, continuous light surface, with innumerable small points of light flickering like a swarm of fish. The movements of the red dots follow the movements of the vehicle. When a right turn is made, they flow to the right; when the car is braked, they flow rapidly forwards; the faster the car goes, the faster they move. The following driver can always see right away what the driver of the car in front is doing.
Click images above for full size photos – pictures courtesy of AUDI – video courtesy of worldcarfans