BMW develops laser light technology… for cars, not sharks

Move over LED headlamps, there’s a new kid in town – according to BMW. The Munich auto giant is looking beyond light emitting diodes in its quest to find the ultimate vehicle lighting system, with its sights set on laser technology.

Developed, initially, for the company’s i8 Concept, BMW is aiming to have production units on our cars within the next few years. Measuring just ten microns in length, laser diodes are one hundred times smaller even than the cells found in LED lighting. Naturally, this opens up all sorts of new design possibilities – such as radically reducing the size of the light units. However, BMW says it has no immediate plans to do this as headlight presence makes up for a large part of the car’s styling.

Posing no risk to human eyes, the laser beam is transformed in bright white light via a fluorescent phosphor material within the headlight before it is projected on to the road. Impressively, not only is laser lighting more efficient, but it also produces a near-parallel beam with an intensity a thousand times greater than that of today’s LEDs. The laser’s other notable quality is that it uses less than half of the energy that LED lamps require, meaning obvious fuel savings.

[Source: BMW]

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