BMW lights the way into the future

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BMW lighting development: Enhanced safety, unmistakable brand identity.

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MUNICH —— A clear view of what’s ahead, especially when driving in the dark, is a crucial safety factor that reduces the risk potential for all road users. According to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, more accidents occur at night time on average than during the day – and that is despite the lower traffic levels. Once darkness falls, drivers are usually only able to make out the line of the road later and less distinctly than in daylight. The lights of other road users irritate the eyes, which have to keep adjusting to the ever-changing light/dark contrasts. It is particularly difficult to spot cyclists with dim lights, pedestrians and animals in the dark. Improved lighting and better visibility help to reduce the above-average number of accidents at night. With the new BMW Laserlights that are now making their debut in a production model, BMW is taking the development of cutting-edge lighting technologies into a whole new era.

Light as a brand ambassador – and not just at night. The design of headlights and tail lights is a key styling element that has a decisive impact on a vehicle’s form and character. Quite apart from its “see and be seen” functionality, vehicle lighting also doubles as a brand ambassador – during the day and especially so in the dark. The distinctive twin circular headlights combine with the characteristic kidney grille to form a classic trademark feature of all vehicles from the BMW core brand. At night, four glowing corona rings give the front of the vehicle its four-eyed face, while BMW vehicles can be recognised from behind by a further characteristic trait in the form of the rear light clusters’ eye-catching L-shape. Just like the corona rings at the front, the rear light design shapes the night-time appearance of every BMW core brand model to unmistakable effect.

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BMW Laserlights set a new benchmark:

Production launch in autumn 2014.

BMW Laserlights will be celebrating their world premiere as of autumn 2014. This highly efficient light source is arriving on our roads in a production car for the first time to provide the high beam in the BMW i8 headlight. Boasting an extremely long, unmatched range, the BMW Laserlights system completely redefines standards for safety, efficiency and design.

The benefits of BMW Laserlights at a glance:

– BMW Laserlights to feature in a production model for the first time from autumn 2014.

– Luminous intensity 10 times greater than that of traditional light sources.

– High beam range of up to 600 metres is double that of conventional headlights.

– Takes up extremely little space and only needs a very small reflector, resulting in significant weight-saving potential.

– Excellent efficiency thanks to a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption.

– Compact construction opens up new scope for design idiom.

– Flat design lends itself to optimum aerodynamics.

– Laser beams are transformed into intense, white light offering maximum safety.

– Long lasting and highly reliable, even under extreme conditions.

Powerful performance – compact installation – excellent efficiency. In the laser headlight, the beams of light are bundled together to attain a luminous intensity 10 times greater than conventional light sources, such as halogen, xenon or LED. BMW Laserlights have a visual range of up to 600 metres, twice that of a headlight with conventional light technology.

The light-emitting surface area of a laser diode is one hundred times smaller than that of a conventional LED, which measures one square millimetre. Consequently, a far smaller reflector is needed for laser light. In the case of the BMW i8, a diameter of less than 30 millimetres is sufficient, saving valuable installation space in the vehicle and opening up the potential for significant weight savings, too. By way of comparison: xenon light requires a reflector/lens diameter of around 70 millimetres and halogen light 120 millimetres in order to achieve an adequate light output and range for the respective lighting technology. Another highly beneficial characteristic is the laser light’s excellent efficiency, with a reduction in energy consumption of some 30 per cent. Laser light therefore helps to improve the vehicle’s overall efficiency as well as lowering CO2 emissions. Moreover, the compact construction also opens up new scope in terms of design, while the flat form lends itself to optimum vehicle aerodynamics.

Highly sophisticated technology. BMW Laserlights take the coherent and monochromatic blue laser beams and transform them into harmless white light. This is done by using special lenses to direct the beams emitted by three high-performance laser diodes onto a fluorescent phosphorous substance inside the laser light source. This fluorescent substance converts the beams into a white light, still with a very high intensity, which the human eye finds particularly pleasant due to its close similarity to daylight. Following conversion of the laser beams, the harmless, dispersed light is projected forward by the headlight unit.

The laser headlight is furthermore equipped with automatic headlight range control to keep the beam of light at a pre-set level, no matter whether the vehicle is driving uphill or downhill, whether it is fully laden or the driver is the sole occupant.

Perfectly reliable under all conditions. The BMW Laserlights development team was faced with the challenge of adapting the new light technology to the specific and very exacting requirements of automotive applications: from dry polar air to humid tropical regions and from smooth motorways to bumpy country roads, the laser light must continue to work reliably in all climates and over any surface for the vehicle’s entire lifetime. An integral multi-level safety concept provides a sure safeguard against any laser radiation escaping. Meanwhile, the camera-based, digital High Beam Assistant fitted as standard reliably prevents both oncoming traffic and vehicles travelling ahead from being dazzled.

The laser – a safe and powerful light source for the car. For a number of years now, BMW has been carefully developing and improving the laser headlight to ready it for use in production cars. The laser “boost” light is currently available for the high beam, and supplements the efficient LED high-beam headlight with its range of 300 metres. It was at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show that BMW first showcased the laser light in the BMW i8 Concept.

BMW lighting technologies – perfectly in tune with the driver’s needs. Besides the new optional laser light with its tremendous brightness and range, the front headlight units on the BMW i8 employ LED technology for the low beam, side lights, daytime running light and turn signals. The various technologies work together to produce an ideal solution for each specific lighting function that is requested. The upshot is perfect lighting, an excellent view and maximum safety combined with high efficiency at all times.

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[Source: BMW Group]



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