Future BMW Models to Feature Laser-Powered Headlights

By Beecher Tuttle September 07, 2011

The easiest way to tell if you are driving past a luxury car at night is the headlights. If you have to close your eyes for fear of being blinded, there is a better than average chance it is a BMW or Lexus headed the other way.

Unfortunately for us regular folks, the LED technology loaded into many of today's high-end vehicles is just the beginning. Get ready to start dodging laser beams.

German automaker BMW announced on Tuesday that it is working on perfecting laser-powered headlights that could be equipped in its luxury cars within the next few years.

The new headlights are said to be capable of creating beams with the intensity of one thousand times that of conventional LEDs, while consuming only half the energy. In addition, the laser diodes that make up the new headlights are one hundred times smaller than those used in today's LED headlights.

So BMW will use the technology to reduce the size of its headlights, right? Nope.

"Instead, the thinking is that the headlights would retain their conventional surface area dimensions and so continue to play an important role in the styling of a BMW, while the size advantages could be used to reduce the depth of the headlight unit, and so open up new possibilities for headlight positioning and body styling," says BMW.

The good news is that the luxury car maker isn't trying to blind us. BMW says that the new technology poses no risk to humans, animals or even wildlife. The blush laser beams will be converted into "pure white light" that is suitable for road traffic before being emitted onto the road.

The car maker also noted that the technology will enable engineers to implement next-generation lighting functions, including adaptive headlights, anti-dazzle high-beam assist and its dynamic light spotting system.

BMW is planning on launching the new headlights as part of its new green sub-brand, the BMW i8 Concept.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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