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From LED to Matrix LED and OLED technology

Better visibility, more precise illumination: Audi is constantly building a technological advantage with the headlights and taillights on its vehicles.

01/20/2021 Copy: Bernd Zerelles ― Photos: AUDI AG Reading Time: 4 min

Audi Q5 light technology

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

The forms taken by highly functional light elements at Audi range from LED to digital Matrix LED and digital OLED technology. They give expression to the concept of Vorsprung – or leading the way – and could digitalize and even personalize much more in the future.

Light technology is getting ever more efficient and precise

LED headlights, in which light-emitting diodes serve as the light source, provide a more precise form of illumination than xenon or halogen bulbs. They also offer improved headlight homogeneity and thus a distinctive light design that gives the overall vehicle design a striking look. The brand with the four interlocking rings first introduced LED headlights on an Audi R8 back in 2008.

 

In addition, LED headlights have a higher level of efficiency than headlights with conventional bulbs, such as those that use halogen or xenon, and a greater range on high beam. If LED headlights light up the dark, the driver’s eyes fatigue more slowly. That’s because at 5,500 kelvins, the color temperature of LED light is similar to that of daylight.

Audi R8 light technology
The Audi R8 was the first production car at Audi on which optional LED headlights were available from 2008. Pictured here: Audi R8 Coupé V10 RWD.

Audi R8 Coupé RWD: Fuel consumption, combined*: 13.1 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 300 g/km

Audi R8 Coupé RWD: Fuel consumption, combined*: 13.1 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 300 g/km

The next evolutionary step takes the form of the digital Matrix LED headlights, such as those optionally available on the new Audi e-tron Sportback.2 They can produce a wide range of light scenarios for various driving situations, including the lane light, which creates a carpet of light up to 50 meters ahead that dynamically adjusts when the car changes lane. The integrated orientation light shows the vehicle’s position markings and where it is currently located on the road. Both of these digital Matrix LED light functions go beyond the functions of the Matrix LED light, which already features low beam; cornering, city, and highway lights; and anti-glare full beam, which prevents other road users from being dazzled by the beam of light with extreme precision.

 

The DMD (digital micromirror device) technology on the digital Matrix LED light is fascinating: Around one million micromirrors mounted on a small chip are tilted at a rate of up to 5,000 times per second using electrostatic pulses to generate the various light scenarios via three LEDs.

Audi e-tron Sportback: Power consumption, combined*: 24–20.9 kWh/100km (NEDC); 25.9–21.1 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron Sportback: Power consumption, combined*: 24–20.9 kWh/100km (NEDC); 25.9–21.1 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron Sportback light technology
Digital Matrix LED headlights are optionally available on the Audi e-tron Sportback. Broken down into tiny pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high definition.

Audi e-tron Sportback: Power consumption, combined*: 24–20.9 kWh/100km (NEDC); 25.9–21.1 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron Sportback: Power consumption, combined*: 24–20.9 kWh/100km (NEDC); 25.9–21.1 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

OLED technology is the future of light

The way into the future, however, is being lit by Audi OLED technology. It was first used in 2016 in the taillights of the Audi TT RS. 3 Audi OLED technology takes the precision and homogeneity of taillights to a new developmental level. That’s because unlike LEDs, which are point light sources, OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) are surface light sources. Since OLEDs generate the light directly within the actual surface, no light guides or reflectors are needed to distribute the light, which improves the efficiency and weight. OLED light achieves a very high degree of contrast and can be smoothly dimmed and divided into the smallest segments, which can in turn be assigned different levels of brightness. This creates previously unimagined possibilities for customizable light design with high precision and incredible variability.

Audi TT RS Coupé: Fuel consumption, combined*: 8.5 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 194–193 g/km

Audi TT RS Coupé: Fuel consumption, combined*: 8.5 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 194–193 g/km

Audi TT RS light technology
The Matrix OLED headlights shine brightly at the rear of the Audi TT RS Coupé. They have been used on this model since 2016.

Audi TT RS Coupé: Fuel consumption, combined*: 8.5 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 194–193 g/km

Audi TT RS Coupé: Fuel consumption, combined*: 8.5 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 194–193 g/km

Audi is digitalizing the taillights

On the new Audi Q5,4 customers have the option of enjoying the latest generation of OLED technology1. The Audi Q54 is the first car in the world to feature taillights with digital OLED technology that allows customers to choose between three different taillight signatures. In addition, special dynamic coming home and leaving home light sequences can be programmed for each individual signature. Another vehicle highlight is the proximity detection system2. If a road user approaches a stationary Audi Q54 within a distance of two meters, all OLED segments are activated as a warning. When the Audi Q54 starts to move off, it automatically returns to the original light signature.

 

“The taillights on the Audi Q54 turn into a kind of display on the external skin that will give us many different options and possibilities in the future when it comes to design, personalization, and communication.” – Dr. Werner Thomas, Project Manager, Audi OLED Technology

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5 light technology
Taillights on the Audi Q5 with digital OLED technology (optional). Customers can choose from one of three taillight signatures when ordering their Audi Q5.

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

The functionality of light is set to be further extended at Audi in the near future. Headlights that project symbols onto the road to warn other road users of dangers – such as an ice hazard or an accident – are part of this future vision of mobility. There are virtually no limits when it comes to light design – the legal regulations determine what is possible in this regard for the time being.

Audi Q5 light technology

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

Audi Q5 taillight

Discover Audi light design in your country.

Audi is known for its advanced lighting design. Find out more about the latest lighting technologies Audi is offering in your country.

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Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

Audi Q5: Fuel consumption, combined*: 7.5–4.7 l/100kmCO₂ emissions, combined*: 181–123 g/km

German model shown. Stated specifications apply only in Germany and are not applicable in other regions.

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