Isn’t it wonderful if your company isn’t just reporting about the latest news but is also actively involved in the development of new technologies? It’s been a while since we wrote about the BILUX lamp, and here’s the latest and final contribution in this series for now … the laser. No, we’re not talking about lightsabers but about the longest range of a light source in a car. The BMW i8, the new BMW 7 Series and the Audi R8 LMX already have it, this tiny miracle which is still in the early stages of development and is already providing impressive results.
And no, our cars will never zap laser beams into the night which pulverize traffic signs like in science fiction movies. In the headlight, a laser diode sends a tightly focused beam of light through a system of mirrors onto a chip with phosphorus crystals, which in turn sends its extremely bright beam out into the night via a reflector. This system is no bigger than a packet of cigarettes and currently requires 30% less energy than LED high beam headlights which are already extremely economical. And those of you who are crying out in annoyance because they already feel dazzled by “normal” xenon lights can take a deep breath because the technology is combined with an LED matrix.
The additional laser is only activated in the headlight from a speed of 70 km/h, and only if the electronic measuring system at the front of the vehicle detects absolutely no light sources from oncoming traffic or other objects. But then night will really turn into day. The light beam has a range of 600 meters, illuminating signs and objects that still seem to be half a world away. That’s about twice that of current LED high beam headlights and makes driving at night very safe, while the small dimensions give designers the option of unleashing their ingenuity when it comes to the shape of the headlights.
The most powerful headlights currently available combine this “high beam” technology with LED matrix technology. Up to 1024 pixels per LED chip can be individually switched on or off. A powerful electronic measuring system at the front detects oncoming cars or other obstacles and light sources, and can mask out precisely these people or objects in milliseconds. That way nobody will be dazzled by oncoming traffic any longer, and as soon as the road is clear of oncoming cars, 340 lux of laser light will be switched on again from 70 km/h.
Let’s gradually say goodbye to the “good old light bulb”. These new technologies are still in the early stages of development but are already providing incredible results. Brighter, safer, more durable and more economical. The price is still very high at the moment so it can only be used in expensive cars but hey, flatscreen LED TVs once cost a fortune and now it seems that pretty much every washing machine has one. The team from Osram is working at full speed to develop the new technologies further so that all of you also get to enjoy super bright headlights soon. Keep up the good work!