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Audi Swarm OLED brake lights are pretty, distracting

Audi is working towards bringing the humble bake light kicking and screaming into the 21st century with its Swarm lights concept. The system ditches ordinary light bulbs in favour of a huge OLED (organic light emitting diode) display running across the rear of the car.

Swarm gets its name from the fact the animated lights resemble ‘swarms of animals’ moving in different directions. The lights change depending on the driver’s actions inside the cabin. Indicator graphics sweep from left to right to show a driver’s intended direction of travel, and when the driver turns the wheel, the swarm flows in the same direction.

The lights also respond to speed and braking forces. The faster you drive, the faster the swarm moves. Hitting the brake causes the lights to flow forward, simulating the braking forces at play, while coming to a standstill causes the lights together in pools.

Although the lights could prove somewhat distracting, there is some logic to the idea. For instance, it could issue some warning to motorists behind a Swarm-equipped car that changes lane without indicating, as the lights change direction the second the car starts to move. The general public would have to learn to interpret the subtle light movements before they become of any benefit, however, so for the most part they’d probably just be incredibly distracting.

Citing the potential safety implications, the AA told the Daily Mail: ‘The Swarm is a delightful concept design but under current lighting regulations it is probably best saved for aquariums or art galleries.’

Even if safety regulations didn’t prohibit such a bonkers light display, the prohibitive cost of OLEDs means the system would only be available on cars way beyond most people’s budgets. 

In related news, Audi is also working on a brake light system that uses lasers to prompt drivers to maintain a safe distance. The lights are projected some distance away from the car onto the road behind it, which serves as an incentive for other motorists to keep their distance.

Is the swarm a clever idea or yet another way to confuse motorists? Let us know.

Source: The Mail Online 


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