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5 May 2016 19:46 (South Africa)
Sci-Tech

Laser headlights for future BMWs

  • Sipho Hlongwane
    sipho hlongwane BW
    Sipho Hlongwane

    Sipho Hlongwane is a writer and columnist for Daily Maverick. His other work interests also include motoring, music and technology, for which he has some awards. In a previous life, he drove forklift trucks, hosted radio shows, waited tables, and was once bitten by a large monitor lizard on his ankle. It hurt a lot. Arsenal Football Club is his only permanent obsession.

    He appears in these pages as a political correspondent.

  • Sci-Tech
bmw laser headlights

We know about light emitting diode (LED) lights being used in the headlights of cars, but have a gurn at this: future BMWs will have power-saving lasers in their headlights. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Future BMWs will use lasers instead of LEDs in headlights. The new technology will save power and fuel for the cars, the company said.

What won’t happen is BMWs driving about with burning red lights in the front, setting fire to other road users. Instead, the laser beam will be converted by a fluorescent phosphor material inside the headlamp into a bright, white light. The resultant light won’t pose a risk to anybody. “The tiny size of the lasers open up a lot of possibilities,” CNet said. “Instead of a large, round piece of glass, a laser headlight could shine through the cross pieces of the car's grille, and so remain hidden when not in use. The traditional dual-headlight configuration would also no longer be necessary, as a row of laser diodes could peek out from the front edge of the hood. As laser light is a coherent beam, it can be precisely shaped, and also changed at will. Instead of a separate high-beam lamp, lasers can be computer controlled to form a low-beam or high-beam pattern.  The first car to have the laser headlight technology will be the upcoming i8, a plug-in hybrid sports coupé. DM



Read more:

  • BMW to fit cars with lasers in CNet;
  • BMW to introduce laser headlights in GizMag.

Photo: REUTERS

  • Sipho Hlongwane
    sipho hlongwane BW
    Sipho Hlongwane

    Sipho Hlongwane is a writer and columnist for Daily Maverick. His other work interests also include motoring, music and technology, for which he has some awards. In a previous life, he drove forklift trucks, hosted radio shows, waited tables, and was once bitten by a large monitor lizard on his ankle. It hurt a lot. Arsenal Football Club is his only permanent obsession.

    He appears in these pages as a political correspondent.

  • Sci-Tech

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