How Laser-powered Headlights Work


Laser-powered Headlights Availability
Because laser-powered headlights can put out more brightness for their size, the headlamp units themselves can be much smaller.
Because laser-powered headlights can put out more brightness for their size, the headlamp units themselves can be much smaller.
Courtesy of BMW USA

While many of us are still waiting for the day we can afford a car with "mere" LED headlights, there's nothing wrong with drooling just a bit at the thought of flaunting laser beams on our next ride.

BMW, the developer and so far frontrunner on this technology, hasn't yet said when laser-powered headlights will be a regular option on its production cars and SUVs.

But the company has said it plans to turn the i8 Concept into a production vehicle. We'll have to wait and see how many of its innovative features -- including laser beam-powered headlights -- survive to make it to the car that hits the dealerships. And given the "arms-race" nature of the auto business, it's probably a safe bet that other manufacturers are already trying to figure out how to produce their own laser-augmented lighting systems.

For lots more information on laser-powered headlights and other cutting-edge car tech, click to the next page.

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Sources

  • Bmw-i.com. "BMW i8 Concept." (Oct. 16, 2011) http://www.bmw-i.com/en_ww/bmw-i8/
  • Cesa, Dante. "BMW developing laser headlights, officially over LEDs." Engadget.com. Sept. 6, 2011. (Oct. 15, 2011) http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/06/bmw-developing-laser-headlights-officially-over-leds/
  • Dillow, Clay. "Realizing Bondesque Visions, BMW is Mounting Lasers in Its Headlights." Popular Science (popsci.com) Sept. 6, 2011. (Oct. 19, 2011) http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2011-09/realizing-bond-visions-bmw-mounting-lasers-its-headlights
  • Evans, Scott. "BMW's Laser Headlights – BMW Shows Us How its Freakin' Laser Light Show Works." Motor Trend. Oct. 14, 2011. (Oct. 19, 2011) http://wot.motortrend.com/bmw-shows-us-how-its-laser-headlights-and-dynamic-lightspot-work-126103.html
  • Leavitt, Lydia. "Audi announces A2 electric concept car, uses lasers to ensure safety of future humans." Engadget.com. Sept. 2, 2011. (Oct. 15, 2011) http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/02/audi-announces-a2-electric-concept-car-uses-lasers-to-ensure-sa/
  • Nishimoto, Alex. "Bright Idea? BMW Develops Laser Headlights for i8 Concept, Future Models." Motor Trend. Sept. 2, 2011. (Oct. 18, 2011) http://wot.motortrend.com/bright-idea-bmw-develops-laser-headlights-for-i8-concept-future-models-114051.html
  • Woodyard, Chris. "BMW tests '1,000 times brighter' laser headlights." USA Today. Sept. 5, 2011. (Oct. 20, 2011) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/09/bmw-tests-laser-headlights----1000-times-brighter/1

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