World premiere: The active digital light signature sets headlights and rear lights in motion in an unprecedented way
For the first time, customers can select digital light signatures for the headlights and rear lights via the MMI and the myAudi app
Package with digital light signatures available on demand
In 2022 this option became standard in the Audi A8 with digital OLED rear lights. The car’s bus system allowed its software to control each rear light panel and each OLED segment individually. In the A8, customers could select from three rear light signatures via the MMI; in the S8, they could choose from four.
“Audi recognized the potential of using OLED technology in rear lights early on and has since continued to systematically advance their development and digitalization as the only car manufacturer to do so. As a result, we can now offer our customers an ever-new range of lighting functions,” explains Stephan Berlitz, Head of Lighting Development, demonstrating a clear strategy behind the use of this technology.
“Digital OLEDs are more efficient, lighter, and more homogeneous than traditional lighting systems,” Berlitz continues, offering a glimpse of the future: “Due to their strong contrast, they are gradually turning into exterior displays, making them an important enabler of communication with the car’s surroundings. With the proximity indication function, we have been using light to interact with other road users since 2020. The Audi Q6 e-tron now adds the communication light to improve road safety further.”
The second-generation digital OLED rear lights in detail
With the next generation of digital OLEDs in the rear lights that now follow in the Audi Q6 e-tron, Audi is significantly expanding the range of functions and design freedom while, above all, improving road safety. For the first time, the digital OLED rear lights can specifically communicate with the immediate environment (car-to-X communication). The number of segments per digital OLED panel has increased from six to 60 compared to the first generation.
Six OLED panels with 360 segments in total are used in the Q6 e-tron ‘s rear lights. The new E3 electronic architecture makes it possible to control this significantly increased number of segments using a software module on one of the domain computers. The steady increase in the number of segments per digital OLED panel will, in the future, make it possible to develop the rear of the car into a display that further improves car-to-X communication and road safety.
The innovative digital OLED technology creates the conditions for a completely new rear light design, ensuring a one-of-a-kind homogeneity and very high contrast. There are other advantages: Surface light sources do not require additional reflectors, light guides, or optics, making them very efficient. Together, these properties allow Audi’s engineers and designers to break down the design boundaries between two- and three-dimensionality.
In other words, the brand with the four rings is creating three-dimensional shapes on two-dimensional surfaces. In addition to an integrated, expressive LED light strip at the rear, 3D glass successfully separates the rear light signature from the other lighting functions.
Audi is also innovating the front of the car. The next generation of digital daytime running lights and the light modules are now visually separate, creating greater design clarity. The designers have designed the individual LEDs – 70 in total – in this new evolution of digital daytime running lights as transparent 3D objects. The front section of the digital daytime running lights features a precise prismatic structure, while a metalized 3D trim surrounds them to draw the focus to the car’s digital eyes.
Improved safety thanks to intelligent headlights and rear lights
Audi has also taken the car’s safety features to a new level. Proximity indication, a feature familiar to other Audi models, is expanded in the new Q6 e-tron to include a communication light. Integrated with the digital OLED rear lights, it warns other road users forsighted of accidents and breakdowns by displaying a specific static rear light signature with integrated warning symbols and the regular rear light graphic in critical road situations.
The assistance system thus aids Audi drivers forsighted and all other road users. As with the advanced traffic information system in the A8, which warns road users of accidents or hazards via the digitalized headlights, the communication light uses data from the swarm. In addition, second-generation digital OLED rear lights activate the communication light with warning symbols for emergency assist, RECAS (rear-end collision alert signal), hazard warning lights, emergency calls (eCall), roadside assistance calls (bCall), and emergency brake lights.
The communication light also adds an extra dimension to the exit warning function. Previously, it only informed the occupants when exiting the car, for example, if another car or a bicycle was approaching. But now, a specially adapted light signature in the rear light graphic warn cyclists or drivers approaching from behind. In this way, the Audi Q6 e-tron extends its safety concept to other road users, increasing road safety for everyone.
Finally, the communication light also uses a specific light signature at the front and rear to indicate the car’s park assist status when it is in automated parking mode. This makes it clear to road users in the immediate vicinity that the car is safe to approach.
A new level of freedom: digital light signatures available via the MMI and the myAudi app
With up to eight digital light signatures for the headlights and rear lights, drivers can enjoy a new level of freedom in personalizing their Q6 e-tron. Customers can select a signature in one of two ways, via the myAudi app or in the car via the MMI. Six additional signatures with a coming home/leaving home lighting scenario and the corresponding digital light signature are available through additional optional packages.
Via the myAudi app, customers can activate their personal light signatures from outside the car and experience the dynamic lighting scenario and the coming home/leaving home function right on their car. It’s the same with the communication light in the second-generation digital OLED rear lights and proximity indication. On request, the Matrix LED headlights can provide a live demonstration of the sign glare suppression and object masking features.
For an even greater degree of personalization for the Q6 e-tron, customers can book the package of digital light signatures for the LED headlights plus/Matrix LED headlights and digital OLED rear lights after purchasing their car using on-demand functions. Customers can purchase the features permanently or for a specific period.
This flexibility lets Audi customers design their Q6 e-tron with up to eight digital light signatures (only in conjunction with digital OLED rear lights and LED headlights plus/Matrix LED headlights) to suit personal preferences. Finally, they can also purchase high-beam assist and the Matrix package on demand.