Article last updated on: Jan 30, 2019

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.

LGD 12.3'' P-OLED automotive concept

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

    Currently we know of several car models that use PMOLED displays in the dashboard. The Lexus 2010 RX for example has a white OLED display, supplementing the main 8" display.

    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:

    Daimler Smart Forvision photo

    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

    Read more here!

    The latest automotive OLED news:

    Here is Audi's Digital OLED lighting taillight technology

    In August 2019 Audi announced a new OLED lighting technology, called Digital OLED, which uses multi-segment OLED taillight modules that can show signs and information - or just display new lighting designs. This is not a new idea, but it is interesting to see Audi's new take on it. Audi unveiled the technology at the ISAL19 trade-show:

    The modules use 50 red OLED triangular panels that can be controlled like a dot-matrix display. The OLED panels were provided by OLEDWorks.

    Sharp demonstrates a 12.3" automotive AMOLED prototype

    Sharp demonstrated a flexible 12.3" 1920x720 AMOLED display for automotive applications. The displays uses an IGZO backplane, and Sharp says that it intends to use external compensation to improve the uniformity in the display.

    Sharp 12.3'' automotive IGZO AMOLED prototype

    Sharp demonstrated the display at the 2019 Vehicle Displays and Interfaces Symposium - at which apparently this was the only OLED on display. According to Display Daily's Ken Werner, OLED displays are finding it difficult to penetrate the automotive display market.

    Audi to unveil a new automotive Digital OLED taillight technology new month

    Audi is set to introduce a new OLED lighting technology they call Digital OLED which uses multi-segment OLED taillight modules that can show signs and information - or just display new lighting designs. This is not a new idea, but it is interesting to see Audi's new take on it.

     Audi Digital OLED technology examples slide

    The modules use 50 red OLED triangular panels that can be controlled like a dot-matrix display. Audi will showcase this new technology at the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting in September 23rd 2019.

    OLED lighting 2019: out with the old, in with the new

    OLED is an amazing technology for lighting - it creates beautiful, efficient and healthy light sources. OLED lighting has great promise but unfortunately the high price of production is a challenge that no one has managed to overcome and OLED lighting remains a small niche industry as of 2019.

    In the early years, several large lighting makers (including GE, Philips, OSRAM, Panasonic, NEC and others) had active OLED lighting programs, but slowly almost all of these companies dropped out of the market - for various reasons - but the main one being that the large investments in large scale production are not certified to lead to market adoption and the competition with LED lighting is extremely difficult.

    LG Display reports its Q2 2019 results, to invest a further $2.5 billion in its P10 OLED TV fab

    LG Display announced its unaudited financial results for Q2 2019, and updated on its upcoming OLED projects.

    LGD P10 OLED fab, Paju Korea (March 2019)

    First of all, LGD announced an additional investment of KRW 3 trillion ($2.5 billion) P10 10.5-Gen OLED TV fab in Paju. Last month it was reported that LG display has started to install some of the Oxide-TFT deposition equipment (supplied by Applied Materials and Jusung Engineering). The mass production at the first lines in the P10 fab is expected to begin in 2021. LG Display did not disclose any more details regarding this new $2.5 billion investment plan yet.

    Visionox shows new foldable, flexible and automotive OLED Displays at SID 2019

    China-based OLED producer Visionox has demonstrated several new OLED technologies at SID DisplayWeek 2019 last month, and the following great video shows the company's impressive booth and displays.

    First up is a foldable OLED display that can be folded inwards and outwards. The panel's folding radius is 5 mm, and Visionox says that it can be folded over 200,000 times. The company did not disclose the exact size and resolution, though.

    OLED-Info's foldable, flexible, VR/AR, transparent, microdisplays, PMOLED, automotive and graphene OLED market reports updated to July 2019

    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 July 2019.

    The Flexible and Foldable OLED Market Report:

    • Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
    • What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
    • All about the foldable OLED market and industry
    • What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
    • How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products

    The report package provides a good introduction to the flexible and foldable OLED market - present and future. It details both flexible displays and lighting technologies. Read more here!

    Lumtec to expand OLED lighting production in Q4, set to IPO in Taiwan today

    Taiwan-based Luminescence Technology (Lumtec) is set to debut today on the Taipei stock exchange emerging stock board. The company says that it plans to expand its OLED lighting production capacity in Q4 2019 from 150,000 50x35 mm panels per month to around 600,000 units.

    LumTec OLED lighting types at Taipei AMPA 2019

    Lumtec says that it sees a large demand coming from the automotive market for OLED lighting panels, and it expects its utilization rates to reach 100% in the current quarter. This means that the company sees around 450,000 panels shipping in this quarter, which seems highly optimistic, especially as it says that it has currently shipping samples for five companies with volume orders expected in 2020 and the demand from automotive companies is not likely to expand very quickly as first adoption comes from luxury cars.

    Lumtec to exhibit automotive OLED lighting applications at at CIAIE 2019

    The following is a sponsored post by Lumtec

    OLED lighting developer Luminescence Technology Corp. (Lumtec) will unveil new OLED lighting applications at the China International Automotive Interiors and Exteriors Exhibition. Lumtec mass produces OLED lighting panels that utilize the company's own self-developer materials, technologies and equipment. The company says that the price point of OLED lighting panels has come down enough to be adopted in mass scale projects.

    Lumtec colored OLED lighting panels (June 2019)

    Lumtec sees possible OLED lighting markets in luxury and middle-class automotive, automotive after-markets, retail, hotels, smart home fixtures and general lighting products such as desk lamps and stand light. The company is also open to new applications and designs and wants to continue and develop innovating solutions together with partners.

    IGNIS demonstrates how its compensation technology can remove burn-in signs from automotive AMOLED panels

    IGNIS Innovation published the following interesting video that shows how its compensation technology can remove the visible signs of pixel aging:

    IGNIS tells us that this is a 12" LTPS automotive AMOLED panel. The company tested it for 1,000 hours at 85 degrees Celsius - to make sure the company's compensation technology can remove all signs of burn-in patterns. IGNIS's Max Life technology combines a functional in-pixel compensation pixel circuit with a sensing line and the company's current measurement driver chip that can perform external compensation.