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Old 01-09-2014, 11:18 AM
Bernie@Bimmerfest Bernie@Bimmerfest is offline
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BMWs with Frickin Laser Beams - BMW Laser Headlights on the i8 explained

frickenlaserbeams

BMW's plug-in hybrid i8 is quite the incredible vehicle. A balance of performance and fuel efficiency. Cutting edge technology, wrapped in a lightweight and aerodynamically optimized body. So, when I heard that BMW was working with laser lighting technology, I wasn't completely surprised that it would make it's way on to the i8 in the near future. If you are pushing limits with the rest of the car, might as well give it some intense lighting too. I thought the original LEDs were pretty bright and fancy to begin with. Check out BMW's video on the i8 and laser lights here.

An interesting article on Optics.org, gave some good insight into BMW's laser light technology. Here are some interesting bits from the article about the laser lights and their use in vehicles.
  • The laser system is based around a high-luminance solid-state point-source, used to excite a remote yellow phosphor. BMW employs a high-power multi-mode blue laser diode
  • Light emitting surface that's said to be 100 times smaller than that of the blue chip in high-power white pc-LEDs
  • Can reach up to 3000 candela per square millimeter, at least 10 times better than LEDs
  • Compliments the performance of the existing high-power white pc-LED-based illumination modules. The LEDs generate the "background" in the intensity distribution pattern, while the high-luminance point source adds a more focused spot of collimated light at a greater distance, considerably increasing the driver's visibility range.
  • Combining high-power pc-LED's of 60-100 candela per sq. mm. with new laser based white point-source capable of over 500 candela per sq. mm. allows for the range of visibility to be extended to the regulated maximum.
  • The unit is small and compact, incredible high-beam range that does not require a large headlamp, instead it comes from a small reflector, benefits being less weight and added design flexibility, also better for aerodynamics
  • High efficacy, with a better ratio of power input to light output reducing power consumption
  • The laser-light high beam booster only activates over a certain speed and only after the LED high-beams are on, for safety reasons.
  • Another safety feature, since the point source uses Class 4 laser diodes, any evidence of the onset of failure results in an automatic shut-down of the system, so there is no leaking of light.
All in all, the laser light system sounds pretty tight. As you go faster, you need more light focused further down the road, rather than the spread of the normal high beams. With both the standard and laser working together, everything is covered. Now what about cost? How much would you pay to have the laser light system over just the standard set-up? I'm sure it won't be cheap.

This system could start appearing in BMW's production near the end of 2014. BMW's i8 will be the first mass production car to offer this laser light technology. Now what will they think of next after the lasers?

frickenlaserbeams

Read all about the i8 here!

Read the full article from Optics.org here.
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Last edited by Bernie@Bimmerfest; 01-09-2014 at 11:25 AM.
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