BMW has recently been a pioneer for automotive lighting technology, with the i8 launching in summer 2014 sporting standard laser headlamps. This past week, BMW unveiled the M4 Concept Iconic Lights at the 2015 CES exhibition in Las Vegas, showing the company’s commitment to bringing laser technology to the rest of its high-end models.
In addition to casting clear, white light up to 650 yards in front of a vehicle, a distance that eclipses the range of LED headlamps, BMW’s laser technology avoids blinding pedestrians or oncoming drivers. The laser lights can track the movement of an oncoming vehicle by creating a “dark spot”–that is, the lights can dynamically dim themselves as another driver moves past, keeping the high-beam light focused on the dark areas of the road but not interrupting the vision of oncoming drivers.
BMW’s laser headlamp technology also serves as a driver assistance tool. The lights can help a driver judge whether passing is possible or safe–they can produce virtual lane markers in the passing lane to the left of a vehicle ahead, using this information to tell the driver whether the space is too narrow for the vehicle to pass. As is the case with current Xenon and LED headlamps, BMW’s laser technology will also illuminate corners, but with the added benefit of obstacle recognition. The system can detect humans, animals, or other blockages up to 100 meters away from the front of the vehicle and warn the driver accordingly.
BMW also unveiled Organic LED taillights on the M4 Concept Iconic Lights. OLED technology is becoming increasingly popular in high-definition displays, primarily because it allows the production of any shape or color in a given setting. BMW plans to take full advantage of OLED capability, producing a variety of taillight shapes (including directional arrows) and colors based on the vehicle’s driving mode.
However, the OLED technology has proven much further from production than BMW’s laser headlamps. The company’s OLEDs in their current form cannot withstand the temperatures and sustained usage that they will see in everyday driving.
Stay tuned on TFLcar.com for more developments with BMW’s revolutionary lighting technologies.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com video review of the 2015 BMW M4.
Frank caught automotive fever early in life. Hailing from a long line of car fanatics, he was able to recite the year and model of every car that passed him by age five. His passion and love for the automobile have only grown since then. When not thinking about cars, he is reading, writing, learning, or dreaming about them. His area of expertise is in the realm of German and Italian cars, of which Porsche is a favorite. Frank currently resides in the heart of NASCAR country in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family. He enjoys driving exotic cars in the beautiful Carolina weather.