Audi: The new A8 projects light pixels and uses OLED rear lights

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Audi is giving the A8 a facelift and is slightly sharpening the exterior in the process. Especially when it comes to lighting, new technologies are finding their way, including headlights with millions of tiny micromirrors that turn every headlight into a small projector, and several OLED panels for the rear lights. Start is in December.

The market launch is initially planned within Europe, in Germany the base price for the A8 is now 99,500 euros for the A8 55 TFSI quattro, and at least 144,800 euros for the sporty top model S8.

  • Audi A8 (2021)

    Audi A8 (2021) (Image: Audi)

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    DMD technology as in the e-tron Sportback

    With the facelift, the group’s large touring sedan will receive the Matrix LED headlights with DMD technology (Digital Micromirror Device) introduced last year with the e-tron Sportback. What is meant by this is an array of 1.3 million micromirrors per headlight, which can be illuminated by a high-performance LED and individually controlled in order to direct the light accordingly or to let it run into a light trap, so as to target certain areas such as oncoming traffic to be able to hide. This technology is also used at Mercedes-Benz with the “Digital Light”.

    2.6 million pixels resolution

    This effectively turns every headlight into a small projector, comparable to the DLP technology from Texas Instruments, which makes use of the same principle. The matrix LED headlights of the revised A8 have a resolution of 2.6 million pixels in total, which is more than Full HD. This enables functions such as lane and orientation light for motorways. The headlights emit a carpet of light in front of the vehicle, which illuminates the vehicle’s own lane particularly brightly. The orientation light should help the driver to stay in lane, especially on construction sites. When unlocking and leaving the car, the matrix LED headlights can generate dynamic coming home / leaving home functions. They appear as projections on the floor or on a wall.

    Structure of a headlight Structure of a headlight (Image: Audi) The primary module in detail The primary module in detail (Image: Audi)

    Rear lights with four OLED panels each

    In the rear, Audi uses OLED technology instead, whereby when ordering the vehicle, you can choose between two (A8) or three (S8) so-called light signatures. Another signature is activated especially with the “Dynamic” drive select mode. Four OLED panels are built into each rear light or side of the vehicle, each consisting of six individually controllable elements.

  • Light signatures for OLED rear lights

    Light signatures for OLED rear lights (Image: Audi)

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    In addition to the new look, the OLED rear lights, in conjunction with the assistance systems, have proximity detection: if other road users approach the stationary vehicle from behind within less than two meters, all OLED segments are activated. Further functions are the dynamic flashing light as well as coming and leaving home stagings.

    Infotainment system with displays for media and air conditioning

    In the interior, the third-generation modular infotainment system (MIB 3) is used for the infotainment system, which provides 10.1 and 8.6-inch screens in the center console. The well-known “Audi Virtual Cockpit” is used in front of the driver, and a head-up display can optionally be ordered on the viewing axis of the windshield. In the rear, Audi wants to meet the increased demands of customers and is now offering 10.1-inch and full HD resolution screens. The rear entertainment can be controlled via the “Rear Seat Remote”, which is now firmly mounted in the center armrest and has an OLED display the size of a smartphone.

  • Audi A8 (2021)

    Audi A8 (2021) (Image: Audi)

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    The car is parked by remote control

    Audi provides around 40 assistance systems, which the manufacturer subdivides into the packages “Parking”, “City” and “Tour”, all of which can be ordered at once in the large “Assistance Package Plus”. Features such as the night vision assistant and the environmental cameras remain available individually. A new highlight in the “Parking” package will be the “Remote Parking Assistant Plus”, which can automatically drive the limousine into and out of parallel and perpendicular parking spaces without the driver having to sit in the car.

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