An obvious improvement on the retractable semaphore devices used on some cars in the first half of last century, turn signals have remained largely unchanged since being patented in 1938 and subsequently adopted by automotive manufacturers. But Audi is claiming to have improved the humble turn signal by using a sequence of lights to indicate the intended turn direction.

Set to be introduced into the Matrix LED headlights in the new A8, Audi’s new dynamic indicators consist of an array of LEDs that could make turning a corner a slightly disco affair. Positioned under each front headlight there are 18 LEDs split into seven segments, while the taillights each contain 24 LEDs split into eight segments.

When the driver flicks the indicator on, the segments light up sequentially at 20 millisecond intervals in the direction of the turn – that is, from the inside out. After they are all lit, they remain at full intensity for 250 milliseconds, before going dark and repeating the sequence.

Audi believes its new turn signal lights will make it easier for other road users to identify a driver’s turning intention, even at long distances and in poor visibility conditions.

Source: Audi