Being able to see where you’re going is rather important when you’re controlling a car, regardless of whether it’s day or night. It’s therefore not surprising that headlight technology is a constant focus of the auto industry. One of the latest steps forward is the adaptive headlights that debuted in Audi’s R8 LMX. These use lasers (I’m not going to make the Austin Powers joke) to augment traditional high beams without blinding everyone in their path. Unfortunately, they won’t be seen on US roads, thanks to inflexible regulations written before humankind landed on the moon.
If the secret to night driving was just more powerful illumination, things would be much simpler. Brighter illumination is fine if you’re the one behind the wheel, less so if you’re being dazzled by those beams. The R8 LMX’s headlights aim to solve this problem, detecting cars that would be dazzled by its laser spotlights, then adjusting the cone of that spotlight to prevent that happening.
Each headlight actually has four blue LED lasers that the unit modulates to create a focused spotlight with twice the range of the car’s LED high beams. The blue laser light is also transformed into a white light with the same temperature as daylight (5500K) by a phosphor converter. The laser spotlights kick in once the car is above 37mph, and an integrated camera system constantly monitors the road ahead and adjusts their throw to avoid blinding the rest of us.
Via Steve Crandall.