BMW is working on laser-powered headlights that could debut in vehicles "within a few years," the German automaker announced today (Sept. 6).
"After LED technology, laser light is the next logical step in car light development," the company said in a statement.
The laser diodes powering the next generation of headlights will have an intensity that is 1,000 times greater than conventional light emitting diode, or LED, technology but consume only half the energy.
Laser diodes will also be about 100 times smaller than the small, square-shaped LED cells.
While it would theoretically be possible for BMW to reduce the size of headlights using laser diodes, the carmaker says it currently has no plans to do that.
Instead, "the size advantages could be used to reduce the depth of the headlight unit, and so open up new possibilities for headlight positioning and body styling," BMW said.
The light from the laser diodes is blue but will be converted into a pure white light that is "suitable for use in road traffic,” BMW said. This conversion also makes the laser light safe for humans and animals.
The laser headlights are expected to make their first appearance in the BMW concept vehicle, the BMW i8.