Osram development opens up new design options.
OLEDs are the next big thing in car lights. And the next even bigger thing are flexible OLEDs. In a rear light jointly developed by Audi, Hella and Osram they’re showing the world what this technology is all about.
OLEDs are confusing to some people. Although three out of four letters are identical to the now pretty much classic LED, they have different technologies. But both produce light from semiconductors. The whole thing is getting a bit complicated though, because there’s a difference between normal (rigid) and flexible OLEDs.
Rigid OLEDs cast in glass will very soon appear in production cars. They’ll be recognizable in rear lights by their extremely homogeneous and wide-area light. Flexible OLEDs still need a bit more time.
But designers are excited about them even before their first series applications. A light source that can be more or less used like a foil is a dream for them. What’s more, the foil can be made transparent.
Why does it take so long for both OLED types to appear? After all, they can already be found in TVs and cell phones. That’s because of the requirements in cars. They’re a lot harsher than in entertainment electronics devices. Think about it, which TV needs to work below zero degrees Fahrenheit? Or at plus 140? Developers at Osram are also working on the lifespan of OLEDs, which is significantly shorter than for LEDs.
They’ve made considerable progress so far, working on a project together with Audi, the luminaire manufacturer Hella and other companies which is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research. The result is a rear light, in which all lighting functions are provided by only two shaped flexible OLED modules. No reflectors or other optical elements are necessary. It goes without saying that the prototype would meet the lighting requirements set out in the approval guidelines.
It’ll be exciting to see what else OLED technology will bring. No headlights though by the looks of it. Developers can’t imagine it would produce the high luminous flux needed.