Audi showed up at CES 2014 with laser-based headlights last January, then BMW put that technology on the road in the funky i8 hybrid sports car. For CES 2015, BMW says it will show off two new lighting systems, smart laser headlights and OLED-based tail lights.
These technologies will be shown on a new concept car that BMW will unveil during the show.
BMW will put a new twist on laser headlights at CES, however, taking advantage of their flexibility. The concept car will use its various sensors and data sources to shape the laser light thrown in front of the car appropriately for the terrain. Although we will have to wait and see what precisely BMW has on offer, this type of feature could be used to adjust the angle of the headlight when going up or down a hill, shorten the throw in a well-lit city, and of course prevent the light from shining into other drivers’ faces.
Laser light may sound like a dangerous technology for headlights, but it’s actually more efficient than even the LED headlights just now reaching production cars. The laser light is filtered to make it safe to look at, and puts out 170 lumens per watt, up from an LED headlight’s 100 lumens per watt. Laser headlights also throw twice as far as LED headlights. BMW included laser lights as an option on its i8 model, although this feature is not yet available in the US because the Department of Transportation is yet to approve the technology.