BMW’s New Laser Headlamps Will Provide Day-Like Illumination
Most car makers take safety measures seriously nowadays and the big German manufacturers have a reputation in this area that many rivals eye with envy. Improvements in crumple zones, air bag technology and glass manufacturing have all led to improved safety for drivers and passengers over the last twenty years or so. However, BMW aim to be the new market leader with its headlamp technology which should make night driving safer than ever before. Their much anticipated i8 hybrid sports car, due for European launch this year, will be the first in the BMW range to have laser lighting that is designed to provide light levels that approach day time conditions. BMW engineers say that the lighting technology will then be rolled out across many more of its models in the future, beginning next year.
The new laser headlamps have been developed by the German car giant in partnership with Osram, another German company, who specialize in lamp technology. Initially, they are destined to be an upgrade option for the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. BMW state that they are capable of providing a much improved lighting intensity over the LED lights which are currently fitted to existing models. The standard version of the i8 will feature LEDs but the upgrade will offer the laser lamps which deliver a more constant beam of light over the road ahead.
Lighting manager at BMW, Thomas Hausmann, claimed that the new laser headlamps will function at up to 344 lux – the measurement of lighting intensity – when operating in high beam mode. This compares favorably with the current 180 lux which is offered by even the latest LED headlamps. Older headlamp technology, which uses xenon or halogen, rarely tops 120 lux, so the difference is remarkable when you see it in action.
Driver safety is something that consumers regularly report as being of importance when choosing new models. BMW’s laser headlamps will get you noticed for sure, but the German engineers will continue to stress the improvement to safety that the greater intensity of illumination the technology brings. BMW, in common with other European car makers, has stressed the importance of other safety measures in its marketing in recent campaigns. New tyre technology, which lessens braking distances, has been something that many UK consumers have been focused on. Plenty of car owners choose to upgrade their tyres from dealers like Point-S, to improve the safety of their vehicle. It seems clear that BMW will continue to market its new headlamps as a safety feature alongside seatbelt technology and tyre design because of the resonance this has with consumers.
Nevertheless, some will undoubtedly think that the headlamps are something of a gimmick and not entirely necessary on most UK roads which are well lit by comparison to other markets that BMW operate in. Indeed, BMW did admit that the planned intensity of the lasers had been reduced by them after testing on French roads. This was done in order to lessen the glare caused by light bouncing off reflective road signs.
Like BMW, Audi think that the technology is likely to go down well with consumers. They have announced an intention to fit laser headlamps into production vehicles soon, too. Their technology, which has also developed with Osram, has already been unveiled as a concept for the Sport Quattro. Given such a move, laser headlamps are probably going to be with us for some time, in one form or another.