|BMW i8 laser high beam lighting technology|
Check out the YouTube Video : BMW Laser Headlights (<-click)
LED forward illumination already dominates the OEM DRL lighting functions in modern vehicles. My 14 Honda CR-Z uses a strip of LED's under each headlamp for DRL functionality whereas HID serves the primary projector lighting role!
Xenon HID limits
The ultimate forward vehicle illumination technology was enabled by 35w compact Xenon HID and instant on ballast technology that debuted in the 1999 Mercedes CL Class as an optional upgrade! Lasers lighting surpasses HID with adaptive beam shaping, 2x longer projection, safety targeting, glare reduction, brighter output and better energy efficiency!
Short arc xenon HID bulbs achieve a photon flux density in the gas plasma that is unmatched by any LED technology. Laser lights however will enable photon flux density that vastly exceed HID. A laser diode can dump upwards of 25,000 watts of optical energy into the white light conversion medium to produce million of lumens from a compact light source. HID achieves an upper limit of about 1500watts in a compact head light sized bulb envelop package made of fuzed quarts. One of the brightest light bulbs ever made is 15,000 watt xenon HID bulb that drives some IMAX projectors!
The diode laser pumped phosphor lighting technology is more compact than any competing design due to the compact form factor of laser diodes and their tight beam emission profile. Laser beams can be channelled in the headlamp assembly onto a white light conversion medium at the optimum focal point of a headlamps projector assembly, producing even fewer shading artifacts than the arc envelope in an HID bulb. This means that laser pumped headlamps can throw more light longer distances than HID with greater optical precision and better energy efficiency! The BMW design laser headlamp uses 30% less energy than LED headlight tech which previously held the energy efficiency record!
The LED photon output limits arise from the clamping energy limits of the semiconductor crystal, namely Indium Gallium Nitride or InGaN that is at the core of most high brightness phosphor and quantum dot diode lights. InGaN gives long uv blue emission around 400nm that is limited to about 10w per CM2. HID achieves hundreds of watts per CM3 in its gas plasma, giving off more than 110,000 lumens from the small arc in a 1000w Metal Halide bulb! Current LED forward illumination technology relies on multiple 1-10w led diodes in arrays that combine to give a useful light output as a system. These LED assemblies produce a beautiful appearance, giving new vehicles a futuristic lighting look. There are new LED manufacturing techniques (package die grid) aimed at increasing the spectral output of individuals diodes but the polymer phosphor binder often creates thermal limitations that will brown out the yellow white light conversion phosphors if the LED crystal is pumped with too much energy and heat.
Laser Diode Lighting Greatest
Laser diodes can achieve 25,000w per CM2 meaning directed energy weapons level emissions at 30% net electrical to photon conversion efficiency. Laser headlights can achieve much greater luminous flux density than HID that delivers the projected light twice as far as any other method. Laser beams give the light and reflector design excellent directionality, the laser light precision making forward illumination that can travel further than any other design or technology. Glass suspended quantum dot technology can remove the thermal limits of the of polymer phosphor energy conversion, enabling blue lasers to pump out obtuse amounts of light without harming the conversion medium! This means tiny laser light packages are able to output much greater light output than any xenon HID or LED solution in a compact lighter more energy efficient package :)
Laser TFT Glare Reduction & Intelligent Illumination
The laser diode can fire its beam into an optical surface that is made with the photon conversion material where the laser beam interacts with the photon conversion materials in a more efficient way that is able to projects light forward with exceptional beam uniformity at beam angles that can be quickly adjusted in microseconds using a technology that focuses digital cameras. A LCD matrix filter can be used to produce active eye shadowing projection to drastically reduced glare effects on oncoming motorists that are facing the active adaptive laser headlights, where a camera produces face recognition data that is actively used to produce an engineered shadow pattern on the face of the driver facing the headlights.
Laser Architectural Lighting
Laser lighting will give really awesome architectural lighting new possibilities. The small beam can be directed over large distances to a small white light conversion target, notably with quantum dots offering the best light quality! This means high brightness artificial lamps that are cool running, long life with many color options. The laser beam can even be manipulated to change the shape of the phosphor impact to go from a tight spot to a wider beautiful diffusion point cloud effect and other creative beam manipulation patters and designs that are not possible with LED or any other lighting technology.
According to BMW
The BMW Laser high beam function on the i8 Euro spec. "bundles the light beams to attain a luminous intensity that is 10x greater than halogen, xenon or LED." "30% more energy efficient that LED""10x smaller than LED""Lighter package with more space in the headlight""Through focusing lenses the blue laser beam is directed onto a fluorescent phosphorous substance, converting the beam to eye safe white light that is then projected by the headlight.""Automatic range control keeps the beam of light at a preset level, maximizing illumination while minimizing glare, enabling enhanced foresight visibility and improving safety while producing pleasurable illumination for the driver :) "
Lights on Cars that Drive Themselves
All of this lighting technology will become a funny thing to discuss when cars achieve full deep learning AI autopilot that is far more advanced than a human driver, 100x safer, 20x more efficient, and 99% more reliable! As long as people are piloting cars there will be a technological pressure to develop better lighting technology.