OLED panels in cars

OLED is a new display technology - used to create thin, efficient and bright displays and lighting panels. OLEDs can be made flexible, and transparent, and so open the way for new, exciting display applications.

One of the possible markets for OLEDs is cars. 

VW Viseo

Where will OLED be used in future cars?

Even today, we can see several interesting usages for OLED displays/lighting in cars:

  • Dashboard displays
  • Windshield transparent OLEDs
  • Internal lighting
  • External lighting
  • Digital rear-view internal mirror
  • Back-window alerts and messaging (as seen on the EDAG prototype)

What's on the market today?

Currently we know of several car models that includes OLED displays, mostly small PMOLED panels. The Lexus 2010 RX for example has a white OLED display, supplementing the main 8" display. Audi's latest race car, the R18, uses an AMOLED display as a digital rear-view mirror:

An interesting development is coming from Novaled - this company is working with a European car makers on interior OLED lighting solutions. They say that a car that uses their panels might be on the market by 2012.

Kia's 3D transparent-OLED dashboard display

In September 2011 Kia unveiled a new concept car called the GT, which uses a very smart system for the dashboard display: three layers of transparent OLED panels that create a unique 3D display - showing instrument data, entertainment info and the navigation system. This is Kia's third concept that uses OLEDs inside the car and the design seems very nice:

CARO (Car-OLED) project

Several German companies are working on a project called CARO (CAR-OLED). The aim of this project is to develop OLEDs specifically for the car industry. Recently they have shown an interesting steering-wheel concept that includes a white OLED. The OLED is so thin that it does not effect the basic design of the wheel, so even the airbag stays the same.

OLED steering wheel prototype

OLED car concepts

There are several car concepts or prototypes that has OLED displays and lighting panels. One of the most beautiful concepts were unveiled by Audi in March 2012. Audi is using OLED Lighting panels (made by Philips) to create rear lights, turn indicators, external lighted "decorations" and even a large display to show information to the driver behind you:



Another interesting concept is the open-source light-car by EDAG - which "communicates" with other drivers using a system of OLED lights, is 'covered' with OLED panels (including front/rear lights), and includes customized OLED dashboard.


EDAG light car concept

Daimler's Smart Forvision concept EV uses transparent hybrid solar-OLED panels on the roof. THose hexagonal see-through panels generate energy during the day and provide internal lighting during the night:

Daimler Smart Forvision photo

In April 2009, Hyundai unveiled its new plug-in hybrid concept car, called Blue-Will, which includes transparent OLED displays on the steering column, which is apparently touch-enabled.

Hyundai Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept


VW showed a design for a future electric car, which is 'covered' by a transparent OLED screen (on glass) that can show information for the driver and passengers.

OLED panels for automobiles

Several companies are working on the OLED panel themselves. One of them is Epson, who showed a beautiful 8" OLED for automobile dashboards. Epson is talking with auto companies to embed this in their cars.

Other companies are working on transparent displays, to use inside the windshield, and flexible ones so they can be used inside the car.

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