Audi and CARIAD are transforming rear lights into intelligent displays with the new active digital light signature. An innovation enabled by digital OLED technology and advanced software.
The new Audi Q6 e-tron is not only the first Audi model to be built on the new PPE platform, with which battery technology, range, and charging speed will be state-of-the-art, but it also takes lighting technology to a new level of innovation. Audi Q6 e-tron is equipped with Matrix LED headlights and digital OLED rear lights, which illuminate and improve the car's interaction with the outside world. The second-generation digital OLED technology is supported by an advanced software from CARIAD, intelligently enhancing design, communication, and road safety.
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, a surface light source based on semiconductors. Prominent features include adjustable brightness and the possibility to freely configure its shape, precisely dividing it into switchable segments. The active digital light signature is a worldwide first debuting on the Audi Q6 e-tron, creating an exciting and novel effect, but also charting the path to the future of lighting for all Audi models.
Software separates from hardware
Compared to cars with a traditional electronic architecture, in which lighting functions are managed by an electrical control unit located in the rear light itself, in the Audi Q6 e-tron there is a software module that manages digital light signatures and is located in one of the car's domain controllers. This centralization of the components leads to a drastic reduction of control units and is a core element of the E³ 1.2 electronic architecture debuting with the Audi Q6 e-tron. In addition, decoupling the software from the hardware allows to control a significantly higher number of segments per digital OLED panel. Specifically, the number of segments in each Audi Q6 e-tron OLED panel has increased ten times over the first generation (from 6 to 60) expanding the range of functions.
Thanks to the new E³ electronic architecture, a single software module in one of the domain computers controls six OLED panels, totaling 360 segments. A sophisticated algorithm determines how many and which segments of the rear lights to activate, and for how many milliseconds. In the near future, the steady increase in the number of segments per digital OLED panel will make it possible to develop the rear of the car into a display that further improves Car-to-X communication and road safety. Compared to previous technology, modularity is a notable advancement for customers, both in terms of personalization and, more importantly, safety. Users will be able to choose from eight digital light signatures for the daytime running lights of the Audi Q6 e-tron, both for the front Matrix LED lights and the rear digital OLED 2.0 lights.
Information and safety
Audi Q6 e-tron's rear digital OLED lights provide information based on data from the swarm, much like Audi A8's advanced traffic information system to warn road users of accidents or hazards. They can also create and display warning symbols for emergency assistance, warning of a potential rear-end collision, emergency call (eCall) and roadside assistance (bCall), helping to increase safety for all road users. And this is just the beginning: the evolution of the technology will allow the number of segments per OLED panel to increase. In addition, the integration of software into design will open up new opportunities to create added value for customers, both in terms of safety and design.
Source: AUDI AG
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