Pioneer Partners with Lincoln Design to Create Dynamic Organic Electroluminescent Instrument Panel

Pioneer Corporation today unveiled a 12- panel Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) dashboard that showcases the future of automotive display technologies. The full-width instrument panel was developed for the Lincoln Continental Concept vehicle, which was unveiled at the 2002 Auto Show in Los Angeles. Lincoln has positioned its new concept vehicle as the ultimate expression of "American Luxury." 

The Lincoln Continental concept's full-vehicle-width instrument panel harnesses 12 OEL display modules, four of which are icon-oriented and make up the driver's gauge cluster. The other eight are full 256 x 256 DOT matrix panels used as reconfigurable displays for engine functions, vehicle systems, audio, telematics and concierge information.

OEL technology has offered the instrument panel a high contrast display with vivid colors and sharp imagery, making it ideal for operating in bright sunlight while also offering the functionality and endurance required for automotive use. Lincoln reviewed numerous display options before selecting OEL as the only display that enabled the company to fulfill its design direction, creating an instrument panel that is sophisticated and elegant, with maximum functionality. 

Pioneer has manufactured OEL displays since 1997 for consumer electronics use. Until recently, automotive manufacturers did not consider OEL displays appropriate for instrument panels because of the strict requirement for long life operation. To improve OEL life performance, new chemical compounds of organic material were developed. Pioneer is finalizing tests of a new compound that is forecasted to exceed 20,000 hours of room temperature performance and 10,000 of high heat operation at 65 degrees Celsius. 

"By developing new OEL materials, Pioneer is well-positioned to be the leading supplier of automotive display products," said Russ Johnston, senior vice president, product planning and marketing, Pioneer Automotive Electronic Sales, Inc. "Our involvement with the Lincoln's concept vehicle proves the viability of OEL for the next generation integrated display panel solution." 

Analysts expect the overall OEL market, including laptop screens, personal digital assistants and cellular telephones, to reach $1.6 billion in device sales by 2007. Of that, $145 million will be automotive OEL. Pioneer was the world's first to manufacture OEL in 1997 and continues to focus its development efforts on achieving automotive solutions with the technology. 

"Pioneer made a considerable investment in developing automotive grade OEL," Johnston said. "As a result, we're hearing very positive feedback from the automotive community. The industry is struggling to find new, innovative display technologies that meet their design challenges. We believe that OEL is the answer."

Lincoln Design Organization selected OEL for its large display, high contrast, sharp imagery and vivid color. Additionally, it has 3-D characteristics that enable the designer to create moving images. The technology also is reconfigurable so the dashboard can change based on the features currently in use.

Lincoln, based in Irvine, Calif., builds and markets the Lincoln LS, Navigator, Town Car, Continental and Blackwood, and will introduce the Aviator mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle this summer.

Pioneer Automotive Electronics Sales, Inc., headquartered in Novi, Mich., markets mobile entertainment products directly to automobile manufacturers.