When is the last time you thought about your headlights? Did you consider them when you were car shopping? Or, like most people, do you forget about them until you have to get one replaced?
BMW has been thinking about headlights, a lot. In fact, BMW has put two and a half years and lots of money behind thinking about headlight; and they might just have revolutionized how you drive at night. If what is coming out about BMW’s new blue-laser diode headlights is true, you will soon see headlights that are 1000 times clearer and whiter than anything on the market, and operating at only two-thirds the energy consumption of led headlights.
Project founder Volker Levering wanted to do more than just make the brightest headlights the world had ever seen, that doesn’t solve the underlying issues of traditional headlights. Volker sought to create a new illumination system that would provide higher contrast, quality lighting that was a close to natural sunlight as he could possibly achieve.
Levering set about utilizing the type of lighting analysis that photographers use for optimal pictures. While it seems a simple idea, it is revolutionary in the automotive field and the obvious next step. If the safest conditions to drive in are those of a bright sunny day, then why not attempt to re-create that at all times?
BMW’s engineers knew that if they wanted to create an entirely new way of lighting up the roadway, they had to create an entirely new way of testing it. This Nachtfahr was the answer; a state-of-the-art night-driving simulator that recreates the conditions of a standard 4-door sedan in an environment where the lighting can be precisely controlled.
The result of this testing led to something straight out of a sci-fi film; a blue-laser diode capable of power intense enough to set an object on fire. Of course, the research BMW put in included a focus on safe use of the lasers. The new lamps were designed to contain and convert the laser into a “non-laser” beam that still holds on to all of the power of a laser beam. So, even in the event of a collision the intense laser beam will be eye-friendly and completely safe to everyone.
When the new lights go into production they will include up to 4 of these blue-laser diodes, which will be bounced off of a phosphorus plate that converts the blue laser to pure white light. In fact, BMW says that the new headlamps will reach 6000k while retaining that white light purity. With this new technology, the headlights promise to deliver incredibly pure and intense light and high contrast that is superior for driving conditions. Traditional headlights flood a large area with light which leads to dissipation, this new blue-laser light will allow the lamps to focus on distant objects as well as the road in front of you. Less dissipation of light means greater precision and higher safety.
BMW has always led the way in engineering and innovation, consistently retaining its status symbol as an elite manufacturer; and they don’t look to be stopping. Sparing no expense, BMW has shown their attention to detail leaves no stone unturned as they have created an innovation no one saw coming; clearer, safer night-driving.
Photo Credit: BMW USA