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Audi: LED Technology & Light Design

December 3rd, 2008
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Audi was the first automobile manufacturer to recognise the potential of revolutionary LED lighting technology and then incorporate it during development of its vehicles. The brand with the four rings has since acquired a technological edge putting it years ahead of the competition, and is a key driver of this innovation. Crucial for the exterior design: Not only during the day but also at night, all Audi models are recognisable at a glance thanks to LED daytime running lights. And each Audi has its own personality: The sweeping light strip on the Audi A4 exudes elegance. And that of the Audi R8 radiates strength and dominance: Its headlights were designed and constructed entirely on the basis of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly LED technology.

A tiny dot on your finger, as minute as a grain of sand. This speck of material uses electrical energy to generate more white light than any conventional light source in the world. A light-emitting diode, or LED, is a semiconductor device – just a square millimetre in size – which boasts a remarkable physical property. It can convert electrical energy directly into light and is unbeatably efficient when it comes to energy consumption. Today’s xenon and LED headlights are four times more energy-efficient than halogen headlights. And by 2018, LED technology should be about eight times more efficient than halogen light. In addition, LEDs excel due to their practically indefinite service life and react up to ten times more quickly than traditional incandescent bulbs.

This success story began five years ago in Detroit. At the North American International Auto Show, Audi presented the Pikes Peak quattro concept study. This elegant SUV, inspiration for today’s Audi Q7, garnered attention with the world’s first fog lights equipped with high-performance light-emitting diodes that were integrated into the broad bumper as striking strips of light.

Soon thereafter, the 12-cylinder Audi A8 went into series production as the world’s first vehicle with LED daytime running lights. High-performance light-emitting diodes as a light source for headlights? Nothing of the sort had ever been done.

“Audi blazed trails with LED technology. And even though we’re years ahead of our direct competitors, this field continues to bear tremendous potential for us. Our research counts on the ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ typical at Audi and no one can imagine our designs without it,” says Dr. Wolfgang Huhn, Head of the Light and Visibility Department at Audi.

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