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Business

Pioneer's bendable OLED lighting gives car designers flexibility

Longer lifespan lets company target makers of luxury and self-driving cars

Taillights are among the likely applications for Pioneer's bendable OLEDs.

TOKYO -- Pioneer has developed a type of bendable OLED lighting for cars that is bright, malleable and long-lasting.

The lighting can be customized in terms of color, brightness and other factors to meet the design needs of automakers. The lifespan of 10 years is double that of the typical product, paving the way for use in higher-end vehicles.

Pioneer intends to transfer the technology to Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED, a joint venture for OLED lighting that it set up with Konica Minolta in June. It expects this company to have a practical version of the technology ready in 2020, but in the meantime Pioneer has already begun shopping the lighting around to automakers in Europe, Japan and China.

Pioneer anticipates strong demand for the bendable OLED lighting for use in luxury cars. Taillights of self-driving cars are another potential application as automakers look for novel design features.

Some cars have already begun to incorporate OLED lighting, but the glass substrates of these products make them difficult to design with curved shapes.

Pioneer has been developing OLED lighting on resin substrates than can be bent, and its latest product resolves the problem of longevity.

Water can permeate resin more readily than glass, a factor that can lead to the lighting to deteriorate. Pioneer solved the problem by modifying the materials used for the resin substrate and the organic light-emitting elements to counteract the damaging effects of water.

Pioneer and Konica Minolta merged their OLED lighting businesses in the 50-50 joint venture. Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED is using technologies provided by both parents to quickly establish a presence in a variety of sectors, including cars, medicine and advertising.

(Nikkei)

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