For Stephan Berlitz, Head of Lighting Innovations/Functions at the Audi Technical Development division, it is precisely these rear light surfaces that offer the greatest potential for the future. “For example, the OLED technology we already have in other production vehicles is nicely homogeneous. But we are thinking ahead. Vehicle lights can act as a display where the focus is on communication – communication that is quick to grasp.”
Berlitz runs his hands over the Light Urban Experience model, an abstract vehicle model with a roof dome that serves as a 3D screen for beamer projections from inside. The masterminds at Audi use this light model to try out new ideas. How can light, acting as a display, communicate as a human-machine interface – not just with the driver, but above all with the outside world? If Berlitz moves his hands too close to the surface, the color changes from green to red. If he moves his hands around the shape, the lighting effects follow his movements.
Berlitz sees huge possibilities for communicating with light: “Today, our vehicles already have high-performance computers on board that are connected with the world around them. How can we use this connectivity going forward to offer innovative lighting features? So many possibilities are conceivable for the future: signaling to other vehicles via displays on the rear that there is danger ahead. Projecting the blind spot onto the asphalt for cyclists. Signaling warnings to pedestrians walking around staring at their smartphones by projecting the shape of the vehicle onto the ground.”