Audi equips Q5 with “digital” OLED taillights

Audi equips Q5 with “digital” OLED taillights

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The vehicle manufacturer brought OLED combination rearlights into series production as early as 2016 – in the TT RS roadster model. Now the new Q5 benefits from the further development of OLED technology as such; Audi has also come up with some nice gags to upgrade the combination rearlights.

The advantages of OLEDs over conventional LED light sources: Their light is extremely homogeneous. It can be infinitely dimmed and achieves a very high contrast. It can be divided into segments, which can be controlled and dimmed separately. An OLED lighting unit requires no reflectors, light guides or similar optics. This makes such units very efficient, light and flat which in turn considerably increases the design freedom.

Audi’s OLED lighting elements are only one millimeter thin, while conventional LED solutions require much greater installation depths of 20 to 30 millimeters. The energy requirement of an OLED is significantly lower compared to an LED optic if the latter is to achieve a similar homogeneity.

Until now, Audi models with OLED lighting technology have had up to four individually controllable, complex light segments that could be used for a single, fixed lighting design.


The combination rear lamps of the Q5 have a larger number of individually controllable segments that can be activated as required and have infinitely variable brightness control. In the Q5 this means three tiles of six units each, i.e. 18 segments per light. The great variability offers lighting designers many options with a single hardware. Customers of the Q5 who have opted for the optional digital OLED technology can choose between three different signatures in the combination rear lamps when buying their car. In Audi drive select mode “dynamic”, the lights also switch to another signature. Animation effects such as coming-home/leaving-home lighting scenarios can also be implemented. “Here, the combination rear lamps become a kind of display on the outer skin,” says Werner Thomas, project manager for OLED technology at Audi. The lighting expert said that Audi already has further OLED innovations in the pipeline that are to be launched on the market in the next few years.

In the new Q5 OLED combination rear lamp, Audi has also implemented an approach detection system: If another road user approaches a stationary Q5 from behind at less than two meters, all OLED segments are activated to increase attention and encourage the driver of the approaching car to brake. When the Q5 drives off again, the original light signature appears. The activation / deactivation is triggered through the car’s ultrasonic distance sensors in the rear bumpers.

Related articles:

OLED taillights for the show: Mercedes-Benz’ video teaser

Osram supplies OLED tail lights to BMW sports car

Audi picks Hella for OLED rear lights

Flexible OLED in the starting blocks for automotive lighting


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