The speed of Light

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Impressions from the new special exhibition "The Speed of Light. The Evolution of Vehicle Lighting at Audi" – on display from November 18, 2022, to June 4, 2023, at the Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt.

The speed of Light

  • Ten vehicles and other exhibits illuminate the evolution of vehicle lighting
  • Stephan Berlitz, Head of Lighting Development, AUDI AG: “Digitalization takes automotive lighting technology to a new dimension”
  • New exhibitions launching November 18 at the museum – fascinating information on the exhibits is available via the Audi Tradition app from late November
Candle lanterns taken from the horse-drawn carriage, like the Horch model 1 here from 1901.

The new special exhibition “The Speed of Light” at the Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt is, for the first time, telling the whole story of lighting development through the rich product history of the brand with the four rings. The special exhibition looks back to the beginnings of vehicle lighting – when early automobiles still used actual fire for illumination. Ten vehicles serve to trace the various epochs in lighting technology, while other exhibits illustrate the functionality and the fascination of constantly evolving headlight and rear light technologies. “The Speed of Light” can be viewed at the Audi museum mobile from November 18, 2022, to June 4, 2023, and digitally on the Audi Tradition app.

The impressive luminous phalanx of the Horch 850 from 1935.


“The early days of the automobile were long in the dark,” says Stefan Felber, curator of Audi Tradition’s new special exhibition. Felber explains: The headlights and rear lights that modern drivers now take almost for granted had a difficult start because, as cars were derived from carriages, they initially adopted the lighting technology of the day: candles in wind-sheltered enclosures, which were not much more than mere position lights. It was only with higher speeds and the advent of night driving that safe illumination of the road became increasingly important and soon a legal requirement. From candles to the later kerosene lamps, vehicle lighting began evolving rapidly. Carbide headlights served as a bridge technology until the implementation of electric lighting. The so-called “Bosch light” of 1913 was the first significant milestone towards modern headlights. The development of Bilux two-wire lamps in 1924 enabled, for the first time, high beams and low beams in one headlight.
The finest technology and even suitable for motor sports: the acetylene headlight by Riemann on the Audi Type C in 1912. On display from November 18, 2022, to June 4, 2023, in the special exhibition “The Speed of Light” at the Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt.