Currently reading: BMW i8 will be first to offer new laser lighting tech
New laser lights to be offered on BMW's hybrid sports car this year, but will be seen on its mainstream models in 2015

The BMW i8 will be the first production car to be sold with advanced laser headlights when it goes on sale later this year.

The new laser headlights have been developed in partnership with German lighting specialist Osram, and are set to become an option on BMW’s new plug-in hybrid sportscar. They are claimed to provide vastly improved lighting intensity over existing LED lights, which will feature as standard on the i8, by offering a more constant beam of light.

BMW lighting manager Thomas Hausmann says the new laser headlamps operate at up to 344 lux in high beam mode, as opposed to the 180 lux offered by the latest LED headlamps.

By comparison, older Xenon headlamps turn out 120 lux, while conventional halogen headlamps boast a maximum 100 lux in high beam mode.

The light created by the new generation headlamp is emitted by laser diodes and a fluorescent phosphor material. It is described as being monochromatic, meaning the light waves possess the same length. This leads to a greater luminance and intensity, particularly over longer distances.      

Hausmann says the monochromatic properties of the new laser headlamps allow them to illuminate the road for a distance of up to 600 metres, or up to double the distance of LED units. The more stable properties of the light beam also enable more precise horizontal and vertical adjustment for adaptive functions, such as anti-glare high beam.

During a preview of the new headlamps in France this week, BMW admitted the original intensity of the laser beam, which can reach over 400 lux, has been reduced slightly to decrease glare on reflective road signs.

As well as offering increased lighting intensity, the new laser headlamps are also claimed to be 30 per cent more energy efficient than the latest generation of LED headlamps, offering approximately 170 lumens (a photometric unit of light output) per watt.

Following their debut as an option on the the i8, BMW’s laser headlamps are planned to filter down into other regular BMW models, including next year’s sixth-generation 7-series, which will be previewed in concept car form at the Beijing motor show in April.

BMW rival Audi, which also operates a partnership with Osram, indicated its intention to place laser headlamps into production by previewing the technology on the Sport quattro Laserlight concept at the CES show in January.

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zapb99 21 February 2014

Auto dimming - anti dazzle

As long as they have auto-dimming and anti-dazzle to counter the idiots who blind you because they leave their high beams on all the time. Or drive an SUV 3 inches from your bumper behind you with normal beams shining right into your car.

Come to think of it, the sooner car manufactures can make anti-dazzle lights that remove the high beam stalk in a car the better.

405line 21 February 2014

I hope not

As i mentioned I hope these lights are outlawed in GB the rest of europe can do whatever they like. I would just like the government to set a "lux cap".....that is to say you can use whatever lighting technology you like so long as it acts like a "normal" lighting source. All that "pie in the sky" tech involving moving laser beams etc...good god...!!! are there going to be motors involved? or are we going to see some new lens technology also..actually this all leads back to my initial's a USP for idiots and something really expensive to add to the options list.
BMW have announced it, Audi are going to use it at Le mans, no doubt Mercedes have their version and also Porsche, VW will be phased in by 2018
winniethewoo 21 February 2014

i think connected to some

i think connected to some serious auto adjusting hardware, high output headlights can be made to work. Headlights should move freely from the car body and should compensation for bonnets rising at acceleration, bumps and dips in the road, crests and cambers to ensure people dont get dazzled. Even well adjusted normal headlights can totally kill your night vision and make you temporarily blind if they catch you in the in the wrong way. high intensity hid headlights definately do make this dazzle worse however.
Frightmare Bob 20 February 2014

I won't be worrying about

I won't be worrying about them being over-bright. The i8 is likely to be rarer than rocking-horse turds, here in West Somerset so, I'm never to see one.
Smilerforce 20 February 2014

No more rovers

great news! A backwards way of getting rid of sheds off our road. We can burn them with lasers.