German luxury automaker BMW says it’s working on integrating lasers into their next generation of vehicles. While some might hope this would be for some kind of weaponry that can be used to vent their seething road rage, in fact the lasers are being developed for use as headlamps.
With LED headlamps and taillights already proliferating among upscale cars these days, BMW says the laser represents the next step in car light development. According to the automaker, laser lighting can produce a forward beam with an intensity a thousand times greater than conventional LEDs, but with half the energy consumption. These are attributes BMW hopes to leverage to devise a bevy of new lighting functions for tomorrow’s cars.
While science fiction has long depicted laser beams as being able to sever limbs and cause all manner of destruction, BMW’s press release on the subject stresses that, “the intensity of laser light poses no possible risks to humans, animals or wildlife when used in car lighting…because the light is not emitted directly, but is first converted into a form that is suitable for use in road traffic. The resulting light is very bright and white. It is also very pleasant to the eye and has a very low energy consumption.”
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see what specific uses BMW has in the works for future laser-based headlamps. Those forward-firing blaster beams would be cool, though.