Audi brings vehicle lighting to life. New luminous surfaces and flowing movements transform light from static to dynamic. This creates entirely new forms of expression, perception and differentiation. They enhance safety while also honing the brand’s appearance.
Dynamic turn signals
The dynamic turn signals that Audi offers for many of its models send clear, unequivocal signals to the surroundings regarding the intended turning direction. Other road users can quickly detect this even if visibility is poor or with their peripheral vision – an important contribution to safety.
Depending on the model, the turn signals are either individual LEDs or LED blocks. When the driver activates the turn signal, these light up sequentially from the inside out. After 150 milliseconds, all segments are bright; for another 250 milliseconds they illuminate with full intensity. The LEDs then go dark before repeating the lighting sequence.
In summer 2014, the laser spot for the high beam made its production debut in the Audi R8 LMX* high-performance sports car, the exclusive special-edition model in the R8 series*. It was used shortly before that in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
With the new laser high beam spot, which will be available in additional models in the future, one laser module per high beam generates a cone of light extending several hundred meters. There are four powerful laser diodes in each module, each only three-tenths of a millimeter (0.01 in) in diameter. They generate a monochromatic and coherent blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometers. A phosphor converter converts it into white light suitable for roadway use with a color temperature of 5,500 Kelvin.
The laser spot, which is active at speeds of 60 km/h (37.3 mph) and above, offers the driver major advantages with respect to visibility and safety. An intelligent camera sensor system detects oncoming road users and dips the lights automatically.
Adaptive brake lights
Audi introduced the adaptive brake lights to its model range back in 2008, and it is now standard in all models. If the driver brakes strongly enough at speeds above 50 km/h (31.1 mph) that deceleration exceeds 0.7 g, the brake lights send a clear alarm signal to the trailing traffic by pulsing three times per second. Shortly before the car comes to a stop, the emergency flashers activate with normal frequency.
Matrix laser technology
Audi is taking the next step in the development of automotive lighting technology with the Matrix laser headlights. Broken down into tiny pixels, the beam of light and illuminate the road in high resolution and with precise control. The brand’s developers and designers have thus opened up entirely new possibilities.
The technology that Audi uses in the Matrix laser headlights is abbreviated DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors. At its core is a matrix of hundreds of thousands of micromirrors, whose edges measure just a few hundredths of a millimeter in length. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. The light is projected onto the road as a function of the position of the individual mirrors, optimally adapting the illumination of the road to the ambient conditions for the driver.
DMD technologies makes it possible to create a nearly infinite number of light patterns. The car can thus generate the ideal light for any driving situation. The technical possibilities are virtually unlimited. Targeted light helps the driver to stay in the lane through construction zones, for example. When turning or moving through intersections, it can show the driver the way, even projecting arrows or similar graphics onto the road, if desired. The high-resolution light can highlight important traffic signs or very precisely prevent the blinding of other road users with glare.
The Matrix laser headlights mean a huge degree of added safety for the driver and others nearby, as well as for the piloted driving of the future. In urban traffic, for instance, they can lay down a pattern of light and dark zones directly in front of the car. This acts as a sort of crosswalk and indicates to pedestrians that they can cross the street safely.
Construction zone lighting
Construction zone lighting is a new, future function of the Matrix LED or Matrix laser technology. It projects two strips of light about 15 m (49.2 ft) long onto the road to indicate the vehicle’s width. The new light pattern is a great help when driving through construction zones or similar bottlenecks. The driver can follow the light as if it were rails.
The exterior lighting of the future
External lighting design using OLED technology, which Audi is preparing for production use, will be as intelligent as it is attractive. One plausible scenario is that the light reacts to the driver as they approach the car. It moves with them and indicates important vehicle contours or the door handle. When the driver gets in, the light follows as subtle OLED lighting is activated.
Unlike classic LEDs, which consist of semiconductor crystals, OLEDs are made from an organic material. In its initial condition the material is a paste that 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 in the paste emit photons and the surface lights up. Depending on the distribution of the electrical input, the illumination can be either uniform, include specific light-dark effects or – typically Audi – generate dynamic movement.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.