The light artist.

Innovative light-based communication features bring this Audi concept car to life. The Audi e-tron Sportback concept projects light signals onto the ground – transforming the road into a stage and increasing safety.

Charged with dynamics.

Nowadays, you simply have to spend a few minutes at any road crossing to spot scenes like the following: a woman pushing a pushchair over a zebra crossing while typing on her smartphone and ignoring the traffic lights, which turned red ages ago. A few metres further along, a man speaking on his phone runs across the road to catch his tram without looking. Two cars manage to brake just in time. Such behaviour is increasingly common among pedestrians. There are still no precise figures, but experts believe that digital distractions contribute to many accidents.

The Audi e-tron Sportback concept’s light technology can counteract this inattentiveness. It uses projections that go beyond conventional light signals. 

”Innovative technology and dynamics make the light more visible, increasing awareness and potentially safety”

When the new Audi e-tron Sportback concept indicates left or right, the LED strip on the rear begins to pulsate. Then something unexpected happens: in time with the indicator, the light signal extends across the ground as if by magic – and over the feet of nearby pedestrians.

When an Audi driver wants to turn, the indicators are now almost impossible to miss, even if a pedestrian is looking at their smartphone,” adds Konrad Tröger.

“In future, the interplay of digitisation and connectivity will be even more crucial for light design. It will become a kind of visual language. It’s important to give this new language expression in design too. The future of autonomous driving in particular is opening up a large new field of activity in this area. Light will come to play an even bigger part in communication.” 

This isn’t the only way that the new electric concept car uses light to communicate with other road users and potentially increase safety. The braking signals have also been enhanced. If the driver steps hard on the brakes – for example in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian who is looking at their smartphone – the car is surrounded by a pulsating red graphic that is also projected onto the ground, transforming the road around the car into a stage. Especially helpful for nearby motorcycle riders and cyclists. These innovative Audi light signals are made possible through the use of high-resolution Matrix Laser projectors.

This isn’t the only way that the new electric concept car uses light to communicate with other road users and potentially increase safety. The braking signals have also been enhanced. If the driver steps hard on the brakes – for example in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian who is looking at their smartphone – the car is surrounded by a pulsating red graphic that is also projected onto the ground, transforming the road around the car into a stage. Especially helpful for nearby motorcycle riders and cyclists. These innovative Audi light signals are made possible through the use of high-resolution Matrix Laser projectors.

”This light technology allows Audi to define not just light but also shadow. The use of digital Matrix Light projectors elevates the ‘Matrix Light’ principle to a new dimension. Firstly, they produce incredibly high-resolution glare-free light (1.3 mill. pixels). Secondly, they allow us to project signals, animations and guidance, so we can communicate with road users and deliver information. This clear, aesthetic play of light and shadow can also be found in the daytime running lights. The light can be rearranged into different forms that serve a variety of functions. Digitisation also plays a key role – the Audi e-tron Sportback concept currently shows more clearly than any other model the possibilities opened up by digitisation.” 

 

The Audi e-tron Sportback concept is lighting the way into the future – dynamically and digitally. With a streamlined design that’s nonetheless packed with pleasant surprises. Puristic elements in change through light embody not only functionality but also generate more emotionality.

The Audi experts:
César Muntada, head of light design;
Konrad Tröger, light designer (Audi e-tron Sportback concept)

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