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First look at BMW’s new laser headlights

Not content to simply upstage sealed-beam headlamps that date back to Thomas Edison with LED arrays, BMW has laid out plans to hopscotch over LEDs with laser headlamps. These are the first pictures showing how lasers could some day light the road.

While cars with frikkin' laser beams sounds like a plot device left out of a draft from a mid-80s James Bond movie, BMW says its real motivation is energy conservation; lasers can produce about 70% more light per watt than an LED unit, enough to matter in electric vehicles like the upcoming i8 where every joule is sacred.

As the pictures show, BMW uses a set of bluish lasers beamed through "a flourescent phosphor material" that produces a headlight-like beam of white light. BMW also says the lasers could be used for new lighting tricks — but it also hasn't disclosed how it would solve some key questions, like keeping the beams precisely focused in a car.

Click through the gallery to see just how bright the future may be.

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Source: Jalopnik

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  • 3 weeks later...

Whoooooaaaaa.... dreamy :cool:

If they could make it more generic and backfittable, they could also make a mint in royalties.

(Backfittable - older BMWs; generic - non-BMWs. Win - Win - Win - all the way to (Deutsch) Bank.)

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A sudden bump in the road and the alignment breaks, lasers shooting out the car and burning everything in its way. Sounds epic.

Just imagine someone backing into your car and cracking the lens. BZZZZZZZT! lol

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Minimalistic and good looking.

They should, though, also work on enhanced visibility at night.

A sudden bump in the road and the alignment breaks, lasers shooting out the car and burning everything in its way. Sounds epic.

:D

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Love the look of the I8, and the headlights. Looking at the different reports about the design of the headlights, little pieces of information left out like lasers are focused on a defuser unit, which in turn projects the beam of light forward, so the lasers beams never leaves the head light unit un-filter.

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Like HID's aren't already blinding enough, especially when you drive a low car, and come face to face with something like a Range Rover.. I'm sure these will be even more damaging to our eyesight!

What's wrong with the humble headlight bulb? It's reliable and cheap and does the job adequately. Pointless evolution and enormous additional expense to improve something that already works fine..

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Like HID's aren't already blinding enough, especially when you drive a low car, and come face to face with something like a Range Rover.. I'm sure these will be even more damaging to our eyesight!

What's wrong with the humble headlight bulb? It's reliable and cheap and does the job adequately. Pointless evolution and enormous additional expense to improve something that already works fine..

It creates more heat than light and in doing so uses a lot of energy, that is what's wrong with it.

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Like HID's aren't already blinding enough, especially when you drive a low car, and come face to face with something like a Range Rover.. I'm sure these will be even more damaging to our eyesight!

I agree on this point 100%. Some newer HID low beams are brighter than the high beams on many older cars, and when you sit low like I do in my Dodge Neon, any larger vehicle with HID lights can nearly blind you, especially on dark country roads at night.

What's wrong with the humble headlight bulb? It's reliable and cheap and does the job adequately. Pointless evolution and enormous additional expense to improve something that already works fine..

Well, from the article, it is all about energy consumption, which isn't much of an issue on gasoline cars that are always producing electricity, but becomes an issue on hybrid or all-electric vehicles.

And I haven't read up on these much, but how exactly do you produce WHITE light from a laser? Lasers technically only produce a single wavelength, and white light is composed of multiple wavelengths of light.

edit: nevermind, I guess it would help if I read the last line of the article quoted above. Haven't had my coffee yet this morning.

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I agree on this point 100%. Some newer HID low beams are brighter than the high beams on many older cars, and when you sit low like I do in my Dodge Neon, any larger vehicle with HID lights can nearly blind you, especially on dark country roads at night.

Well, from the article, it is all about energy consumption, which isn't much of an issue on gasoline cars that are always producing electricity, but becomes an issue on hybrid or all-electric vehicles.

And I haven't read up on these much, but how exactly do you produce WHITE light from a laser? Lasers technically only produce a single wavelength, and white light is composed of multiple wavelengths of light.

same way incandescent bulbs work. The electrons in a phosphorous layer are brought to a higher level (excited state) by the energy off the laser and while falling back to their previous state emit white light. (kind of, don't know how to explain it in English :))

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