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BMW i8 Laser Light technology


From the autumn of 2014, BMW will be the first manufacturer worldwide to offer a production vehicle equipped with headlamps featuring a completely new laser light concept. With this laser light technology, which was first presented at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show and that is similar to the one embedded in the Audi R-18 e-tron, the BMW i8 (fuel consumption combined: 2.1-0.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 49–0 g/km) is the first production vehicle to incorporate the totally new laser light technology. Whilst the basic version of the BMW i8 is equipped with high-intensity full LED headlamps, the optional laser boost feature additionally ensures a high beam range of up to 600 meters. This means that the illumination range of the LED high beam is doubled. Thanks to the new laser technology, it is possible to increase energy efficiency by a further 30 percent compared to LED light.

BMW i8, Laserlight

An innovative form of light

In addition to lowering power requirement, BMW Laser Light illuminates the road ahead with a significantly higher light intensity without heating up the surrounding area. Laser diodes are ten times smaller than conventional light diodes. They help to save not only available installation space inside the headlamp, but also weight. The size of the reflector surface can be reduced by a factor of up to ten vs. LED light.

BMW Laser light for BMW i8

The height of the reflector has now been reduced from the previous 9 cm to less than 3 cm. The light of a laser headlamp is extremely bright, similar to daylight, which is perceived by the human eye as pleasant. Several high-performance diodes emit a strongly bundled beam via special lenses onto a fluorescent phosphorus substance inside the headlamp. This substance transforms the beam into a bright white light that is ten times more intensive than conventional light sources. Due to their highly intensive and virtually ideal beam properties, laser diodes render the overall system more efficient. In conjunction with the camera-aided digital high-beam assistant, dazzling of oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead is reliably eliminated.

Better visibility and enhanced safety when driving at night

With the sum of its properties, BMW Laser Light combines performance and safety with a high level of efficiency and compactness. Its range facilitates improved illumination and better visibility when driving in the dark. The BMW i8 is the world’s first production vehicle to feature this innovative light technology. During the years ahead, further BMW models will be equipped with this future-oriented laser light system.

Left: LED High Beam, Right: Laser High Beam

Source: BMW
Romain’s opinion:

From engineering point of view, this laser light seems perfect. I’m just wondering if there is any potential health issue with the intensity of the laser light. Do you think that if someone looks right into the laser, his eyes can get hurt?

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