Audi and BMW seek laser headlights breakthrough image

As the battle for the top spot among premium automakers keeps heating up year after year, one’s turning point could even be gaining the upper hand in technology – with the latest field being the best illumination on the road.

Sure, we can’t say that’s the only field of battle, but if we take it as a singular case, we cans certainly then extrapolate to see the big picture – every bit of prowess is important, especially when it comes to such technologies that could bring perceivable safety improvements.

Audi and BMW both race to market the latest in illumination technology – laser headlights, with the Bavarian automaker promising it as an extra for the i8 hybrid by the end of this year and the first saying it would deliver it even faster.

“Thanks to our efficient technology transfer, we will be the first car brand to put laser light into production,” said Audi’s technical development chief, Ulrich Hackenberg during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

After showing off the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car, the Germans said that in April the 2014 R18 E-tron Quattro Le Mans race model will premiere the technology.

Lasers, while being very energy efficient are very expensive, but seem to already threaten the LED lights just going into our cars, as they have a 500-meter range, around two times bigger than LED high beams.

“There is definitely interest outside BMW for using laser diodes,” said Sevugan Nagappan, Osram’s marketing manager for infrared and laser products. “People are looking into it. They want to figure out whether it makes sense or not.”

BMW has declined to identify its laser light provider, but said that by the end of the year the i8 would be optionally equipped with the new technology – a feat that would not be accessible in the US though, as it still waits National Highway Traffic Safety Administration clearance.

Via Automotive News Europe