BMW wants to put super-efficient OLED tail lights on your next car

The tail lights on most existing cars leave a lot to be desired: they're big, power-hungry and need reflectors to be visible from all angles. BMW is clearly frustrated with those clunky designs, as it just shared a load of details about its upcoming, OLED-based Organic Light technology. The extra-thin, uniformly lit strips promise tail lights (and some interior lights) that are both easy to see without reflectors and use just a fraction of the power of existing systems. They should also lead to more exotic-looking cars -- BMW can already cut the OLEDs into any 2D shape it likes, and it's planning both flexible and 3D lights in the future.

The automaker expects to have Organic Light in production vehicles within three years. However, it won't replace more than a handful of lights at first. Existing OLEDs aren't bright enough to take over from brake lights, headlights and indicators; for now, they'll be complements to LEDs and lasers. Even with that limitation, though, the power- and space-saving advantages could be important for the next wave of electric vehicles.