Audi new "Swarm" OLED and what it means for the automobile lighting world.

Posted by Justin L on 12th Sep 2017

Audi New Lighting Tech

When we think of Audi we would think of their quick pace cars and beautiful designs. What most people do not know is that Audi is innovating the way we use lights  in automotive. They created the Matrix LED headlights technology, and now they have innovated on OLED (organic light emitting diode) AND updating their Matrix headlights tech with laser!

What is Matrix LED Headlights Technology

The innovative technology combines a camera system with LED light sources and precision optics for highly adaptive light distribution.

The system blanks out light that would otherwise shine directly on oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front but continues to fully illuminate all the other areas in between and alongside. Think of it as the lights will dodge oncoming traffic and wrap the lights around objects continuously. Automatic traffic sign glare reduction dims the light striking the highly reflective surface, which in turn ensures that the driver is dazzled less. The main lighting functions when unlocking the vehicle (coming home/leaving home), activation of driving lights, switching between the different light patterns and the control when oncoming traffic drives past are visible as dynamic processes in the headlight. The driver enjoys much greater visibility.

When the light switch is set to “Automatic” and the high beams are on, the system becomes active outside of densely populated areas. If the camera detects oncoming vehicles, the control unit switches off individual LEDs at lightning speed or dims them over 64 steps. Oncoming traffic and cars ahead are excluded from the light pattern, while all other areas between and adjacent to them continue to be fully illuminated. As soon as the oncoming traffic has passed, the high beam once again shines homogeneously and at full power. Audi is paving the future for automotive lighting as other manufactures are working on their own system similar to Audi's Matrix technology.

OLED Technology and What It Can Do

New OLED lights are giving designers opportunities to be creative in ways of showcasing tail lights from the standards. Audi has systematically developed all aspects of the new technology showing in its Audi e-tron quattro concept car and near-production rear lights in at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for 2016 in Las Vegas.

The Science behind OLED

In each OLED unit, two electrodes – at least one of which must be transparent – incorporate numerous extremely thin layers of organic semiconductor materials. A low DC voltage of between three and four volts activates and lights the layers, each of which is less than one-thousandth of a millimeter thick. The color is based on the molecular composition of the light source.

Audi rapid progress in OLED technology advancement is paving the way for automotive lights. If further increases in light density are achieved, OLEDs will soon be able to generate turn and brake signals too.

Another benefit of OLEDs: They can be subdivided into small segments that can be controlled at different brightness levels. There will also be OLED units with multiple colors in addition to transparent ones. The illuminated sub-surfaces exhibit very precise boundaries with one another.

OLED technology is giving manufactures opportunities to create unique designs specifically for their audience and brand identity. Audi is a brand that is known for their intricate concepts.

The Future of LED Technology

With Audi leading the pack with lighting technology we are unsure of what it will mean for other lighting company. The tech behind these innovations is not only the actual lights but it includes the brain (CPU) to carry out all the features mentioned. The direction that lights are heading towards will rely on computers to make it work. How will this affect the aftermarket scene when consumers want to replace their own lights. Most lights used today are individual bulbs that can be replaced with minimal effort. Online retailers such as, amazon, and ebay are the most shopped retailers for replacement and conversion light kits.