Laser Headlight Shine In BMW Production Model

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By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

THE HAGUE, February 10, 2014.

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In January, Audi unveiled its Sport quattro Laser Conscept with laser light technology at the Consumer Electronics Show. But it was not the first time that we saw the technology on a concept car.

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The premiere of laser headlights was by BMW Audi's competitor from Bavaria, who presented laser lights at the IAA Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. BMW also gets the world premiere of the first manufacturer to equip a production model with the new technology. The new BMW i8 will get standard the high-intensity full-LED headlamps, but laser light will be offered as an option.

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With laser light, the illumination range of the plug-in hybrid sports car will be nearly 2,000 feet, double the distance of the range of the modern LED high beam.The laser diodes are smaller than the LEDs, but offer longer range and higher intensity and an increased energy efficiency of 30 percent.

The exceptionally bright white light is ten times more intensive than conventional light sources, but together with the camera-aided digital high-beam assistant, the oncoming traffic will not be affected. And because laser diodes are ten times smaller than conventional light diodes, they help save weight and space inside the headlamp. The size of the reflector surface can be reduced by a factor ten versus LED light, while the height of the reflector has been reduced from 3.4 inches to 1.2 inches.

In the meantime it is a given fact that Audi will speed up the implementation of laser light technology in production models. At the CES, Audi showed the new head lamps in a concept, but announced to have it tested during the 24 hour race of Le Mans in May.

I am convinced the drivers will love it! Imagine you are racing the Les Hunaudières straight in the dark… then each yard of extra visibility is a blessing.

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