BMW developing laser headlights

Obviously, lasers are the future of every single technology ever, from computers to sea jellies. BMW is now attempting to put lasers into car headlights, creating what could be (but isn't yet) the world's first combination road lighting system and pedestrian deterrence weapon.

BMW is mostly just concerned with using lasers to make better headlights, as opposed to giving people who can't be bothered to find a crosswalk a little zap to remind them that life is not a game of Frogger. I say "mostly" just concerned because they're working on the pedestrian laser thing, too. In the short term, though, all that BMW wants to do is to create a headlight that's smaller, brighter, and more efficient, and lasers can do that.

At a mere ten microns in size, laser diodes are potentially a hundred times smaller than LED diodes. Lasers can also be upwards of 1,000 times brighter (and even purer white), which is just what you want flashing through your rear-view mirror at night. And if you're not sold yet, at 170 lumens per watt, lasers are nearly twice as efficient as LEDs, which will likely save you pennies every time you fill up your tank.

This is all well and good, but it seems like the real advantage of laser headlights is that lasers can be used to create highly directional beams of light. This means more light on the road where you need it, and less light blinding whatever poor sap is trying to drive past you. BMW suggests that "it will also be possible to use laser lighting to implement completely new functions," by which they either mean things like dynamically targetable lighting systems, or an upgrade package that includes the ability to control the weather. Whichever it is, you'll see laser headlights first on BMW's i8 concept, which you can check out in more detail here.

Asia Online, via Inhabitat

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