OLED is a new display and lighting 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 the automotive industry.
Where will OLED be used in future cars?
We can see several applications for OLED displays and lighting systems in cars:
- Dashboard displays (instrument clusters, navigation, media)
- Heads up displays
- Internal lighting
- External lighting (tail lights, turn indicators)
- Digital rear-view internal mirrors
- More application we cannot think about today!
OLED displays for cars today
Some new car concepts are using flexible OLEDs, trying to innovate car displays. LG Display is developing FHD 12.3" curved plastic-based flexible OLEDs, and the company is collaborating with Tesla, Cadillac and Mercedes, promising to start producing those display commercially by 2018.
Samsung is also developing OLEDs for automotive - including flexible ones and transparent/mirror OLEDs. In 2016 Samsung unveiled several 7" prototype displays, and in 2018 Samsung demonstrated its latest automotive OLEDs, including large rollable and curved displays.
OLED lighting in cars
The automotive market is one of the most interesting markets for OLED lighting, and many believe this will be one of the first markets to adopt the next generation lighting technology. In 2016 Audi unveiled the 2016 TT RS, which sports optional OLED taillights - the first commercial car to sport the new lighting technology. Audi says that the 2017 A8 will sport OLED taillights and OLED displays.
BMW's M4 GTS car uses OLED taillights as well, but this car will only be produced in a very limited quantities. Still BMW said several times that OLEDs may well become the lighting technology of choice due to OLED's flexilibility, efficiency and homogeneity.
Daimler's 2011 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. This is an old concept, but still a very interesting one:
OLED-Info's Automotive OLEDs Market Report
If you're interested in this market, check out our market report on Automotive OLEDs. The report discusses the current OLED display and lighting automotive markets, with a complete list of OLED display and lighting makers that are involved with the automotive market, with personal contact details.
The OLED Automotive Market Report explains:
- What kind of OLED displays are currently adopted in cars
- Why OLED lighting is exciting for car makers
- The future of Automotive OLED display
- OLED concepts and forecasts by BMW, Audi and others
The latest automotive OLED news:
Departures magazine (a premium magazine shipped to around 25,000 American Express Platinum Card members) included an innovative ad for Audi's A8 with flexible OLED lighting panels that are activated when first opened (and also when the reader clicks on a replica Audi key that is included with the magazine).
Personally this seems to be an overly expensive and wasteful way to advertise. We do not know what kind of OLED panels are used in the ads (which was produced by US-based Structural Graphics). In 2017 Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED (KMPO) demonstrated its simple flexible OLED lighting panels integrated into packaging technology - which could be the one adopted here (although other companies have demonstrated similar solutions as well).
Automotive suppliers Continental unveiled a concept technology that could minimize blind-spots in automobiles. The idea is to wrap a flexible OLED around the car's A-pillar, and then use an external camera combined with head-tracking in-car camera to feed the external view on the A-Pillar display.
This seems to be a smart idea if performed well that solves a real issue - Continental says that a typical A-pillar can obscure more than 3 feet's worth of area at a distance of 12 feet from the vehicle - and the blind spot grows as the distance does. CNet notes, however, that Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover previewed and patented similar technologies in the past.
AUO to establish an OLED ink-jet production line, to make OLEDs for monitors and automotive applications
According to reports from China, Taiwan-based AU Optronics decided to establish an inkjet OLED production line that will be used to produce OLED monitor displays and OLEDs for automotive applications.
The new OLED line will use production equipment made by Japan's JOLED - who started commercial low-volume production of its own 21.6" 4K OLED panels, at the company's pilot 4.5-Gen line. JOLED also announced plans for a mass production 5.5-Gen line that will be established in Nomi City, Ishikawa Prefecture, by 2020, and similarly to AUO, it is focusing on monitors and automotive applications.
Transparent displays are of great interest, and many envision a plethora of possible applications that use transparent screens in the retail, commercial and consumer markets. There are many exciting applications - but none with real and immediate demand.
Many OLED makers are developing transparent OLEDs, and in the past we've seen several producers that introduced such displays to the market - only to halt production a few months later. Device makers are on the lookout for such displays, and are still disappointed even though the technology is ready.
OLED-Info's flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to July 2018
Today we published new versions of our market reports - that cover the flexible, VR/AR, microdisplays, automotive, PMOLED and graphene OLED markets. OLED-Info provides comprehensive niche OLED market reports, and our reports cover everything you need to know about the niche market, and can be useful if you want to understand how the OLED industry works and what this technology can provide for your own industry. The reports are now updated to October 2018.
- Why OLEDs are adopted in almost all VR HMDs
- What kind of displays are required for VR and AR applications
- What the future holds for the VR and AR markets
- Current and future VR and AR systems
The report package provides a great introduction to the emerging VR and AR market, and details the role that OLED displays will have. Read more here!
A couple of weeks ago Audi launched its first electric SUV, the e-tron SUV - with optional 7" OLED virtual side mirrors and external cameras instead of the normal side-view mirrors.
Today, Samsung Display announced it is the producer of these 7" AMOLEDs. The OLED displays include a touch layer which can be used to zoom the image while parking to optimize the field of vision.
Audi officially launched its first electric SUV, the e-tron SUV in San Francisco. As was revealed in the concept e-tron in July, the e-tron can optionally use 7" OLED virtual side mirrors and external cameras instead of the normal mirrors.
This is not a new concept, but it is great to see Audi adopt this technology in a serially produced car. In 2012 Audi equipped its R18 sports prototype with a 7.7" virtual rear mirror, and later announced it will bring such mirrors to future e-tron cars.
Earlier this month, Royole demonstrated its latest technologies at IFA 2018 - including flexible and foldable AMOLED panels, a large automotive display and a phone/bracelet device made from a foldable OLED. The interesting video below shows these new Royole displays.
Royole's flexible OLED displays are produced at the company's "quasi-G6" (5.5-Gen) OLED production fab in Shenzhen which started production in June 2018. In full capacity, Royole's fab will be able to produce over 50 million flexible OLEDs per year (45,000 monthly substrates).
Last week Bugatti announced it is set to unveil its new Divo "hypercar" - which will feature OLED tail lights. Bugatti indeed unveiled its latest car, and you can see the OLED lights below:
Unfortunately, Bugatti did not disclose any details regarding these OLED taillights, hopefully we'll know more soon about these beautiful modules.
Last month it was reported that JOLED raised around $400 million from four new investors - auto parts maker Denso ($270 million), major trading house Toyota Tsusho ($90 million) and Sumitomo Chemical and Screen Holdings.
JOLED now confirmed this funding round. The total sum raised was actually a bit higher than reported - JPY47 billion, or about $424 million. It also said that these new investors are not just financial ones - JOLED will cooperate with DENSO to develop automotive OLED displays, while Toyota Tsusho will support this business using its automotive sales channels. Sumitomo Chemical will also enhance its already existing collaboration with JOLED to further develop OLED Printing materials.