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Shark Transportation Technology

CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways 295

Posted by samzenpus
from the shine-on dept.
jeffb (2.718) writes "Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on optics.org describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a 'laser beam' from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the 'speckling' interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.
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CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways

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  • meme (Score:5, Funny)

    by confused one (671304) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:31PM (#45873175)
    Now, to make the meme complete, we need a car model named "shark".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:38PM (#45873217)

    Awesome. I drive a regular-sized car, and at night the SUVs are already a pain in the ass with their headlights being above the back end of my car, aimed right at my rear view mirror. And soon enough they'll be even stronger? Delightful.

    • by maz2331 (1104901)

      My 328i has xenon lights that are bright, but the car actively aims them away from other traffic. The beam is ALWAYS below the tail lights of any vehicle ahead of me, and I can watch the beam point away from oncoming vehicles.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        My 328i has xenon lights that are bright, but the car actively aims them away from other traffic. The beam is ALWAYS below the tail lights of any vehicle ahead of me, and I can watch the beam point away from oncoming vehicles.

        DO you have a newslette with this amazing device?

        So tell me, if you are on a bumpy or hilly road, the manner in which your vehicle knows how far above or below you the other vehicle is.

        It must be a really good system to know what distance above or below you multiple vehicles are.

        While you bask in high tech bliss, your headlamps appear to be flashing high beams at other drivers.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Adaptive headlight system. GO look it up, My BMW motorcycle has it as well.

          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

            Adaptive headlight system. GO look it up, My BMW motorcycle has it as well.

            Why yes I did look it up. I looked up a number of different systems in use. BMW's site has some ad-copy type information regarding the light turning as you do.

            Not quite the same systems I assume since the Motorcycle has a banking system. But okay.

            Does your car have the anti-dazzle high beam assistant? That's the one I am interested in finding out about. But actual tech info is hard to find - If you know a tech link, I'd appreciate it.

            I did find some info on Wikipedia about a "glare free High beam ass

    • by snero3 (610114)
      You see that little plastic switch thing below your rear vision mirror? Flip it.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      A friend of mine bought an SUV with super bright headlight upgrade and son regretted it. Vehicles with reflective film on the rear windows (usually utility vans) would blind him. He also found people were constantly flashing their lights at him, thinking he had high beams on, and he was even stopped by the police once.

      It will be interesting of her ever take it anywhere other than the main dealer for an MOT. I bet a lot of places would fail the headlights.

    • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday January 06, 2014 @01:30AM (#45875975)

      Only SUV's?
      It appears that just about every vehicle with HID's are blinding. Then toss in the jerkoffs who think its okay to drive on a packed and well lit highway with their high beams on (its a selfish, fuck you mentality). That or they are just stupid and don't see the little bright blue high-beam indicator. And finally lets not forget about the tools with the HID upgrades or custom headlamps that are not adjusted properly and might as well be high beams. I have my rear view mirror in permanent dim mode. And that is in my lower than most every vehicle 95 Civic. Even when driving in a 3500 GMC Savana van I still have dicks with HID's and/or high beams in small cars blinding me. You can't escape it.

      Lets stop the arms race to create overly bright headlamps. It's unnecessary. And I am sure I will have someone respond "But I drive on desolate back roads of the Carpathian Forest and need them to destroy vampires or avoid deer. I need overly bright headlamps." Yea, maybe in your case. But many people live in big cities with little need for bright headlamps. I sometimes feel they always appear on high end cars and serve as a way to say "Hey everyone look how important I am. And to show you, my vehicle will now blind you peons in your pathetic poor peoples car." They are also the same douche bags who tailgate you even though you are already doing 10-15 over the speed limit.

      A coworker suggested I tint my windows to the legal maximum as he has done it to alleviate the overly bright and blinding assault of headlamps on the road. You know its that bad where you need to tint your windows for NIGHT driving!

  • Oh great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:39PM (#45873227) Homepage

    Wonder how much this is going to cost and how much a replacement costs when it burns out. I'd love an Audi but they don't seem to score high on reliability.

    • by Cryacin (657549)
      Or on lightbulbs that cost less than $300.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Real HID kits cost $750 per headlight, so these will cost about $2100 each.

        No the crap HID stuff you pay $49.00 on ebay are not real.. Those are poesur crap, which is why they come in Blue and purple.

  • Regulate this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:39PM (#45873229)

    These need to be regulated more strongly. In my country, at least, the high-intensity headlights used in late-model luxury cars like Audis are too bright. 'Normal' mode is as bright, or brighter, than high-beams. In short, they blind other drivers.

    Looking at TFA, it doesn't look like these will be any better:

    As with BMW's lights the laser diodes are tiny in size, only a few microns across, but the light they output is incredibly powerful--the beam pattern stretches half a kilometer, or just under a third of a mile. That's around twice the range and three times the luminosity of the firm's already-powerful LED lights.

    The light output of low-beam headlights needs to be regulated more strongly.

    • I agree. The lights are on cars for 2 reasons: 1) for other cars to see each other at night - 2) for the driver to see the edge of the road a certain distance ahead.

      Back in the day when these things were being developed, they didn't have the technology invested in that white paint that's on the side of the road (many roads didn't even have a line at all). And now that white line is very reflective on almost all roads (speaking from the US at least), it seems that, if anything, we can tone down the head
      • I agree. The lights are on cars for 2 reasons: 1) for other cars to see each other at night - 2) for the driver to see the edge of the road a certain distance ahead.

        Back in the day when these things were being developed, they didn't have the technology invested in that white paint that's on the side of the road (many roads didn't even have a line at all). And now that white line is very reflective on almost all roads (speaking from the US at least), it seems that, if anything, we can tone down the headlights. I know that cars drive a lot faster than they used to, but most of the speed limits are the same as they've been for many years.

        Um, no.... I think that you forget that there are locations in the US that get this stuff called snow and that said snow, and the dirt & salt they spread to melt the snow, tends to cover lines on the road. Then there is fog, for which brighter lights do not help, and dark rainy nights, where brighter lights do help.

        In addition, much of the US has reduced their spending on repainting lines leaving areas with poor markings as the paint is quite expensive.

        My old car had HIDs. I didn't get them with my n

        • Um, no.... I think that you forget that there are locations in the US that get this stuff called snow and that said snow, and the dirt & salt they spread to melt the snow, tends to cover lines on the road. Then there is fog, for which brighter lights do not help, and dark rainy nights, where brighter lights do help.

          In my experience, (even bright) lights do not help see through snow, fog, or rain. In fact, it's very popular to pull over when rain/snow/fog is so thick.

          And yeah, when the lights are positioned correctly (down, and to the right - in America - so to point out the edge of the road better) they do not shine in the direction of on-coming traffic. But they don't need to be freggin laser beams blasting out 60,000 lumen 50 or 60 feet in front of your car. And of course it's nice to be in some expensive vehi

        • there are locations in the US that get this stuff called snow and that said snow, and the dirt & salt they spread to melt the snow, tends to cover lines on the road.

          Another common problem in rainy areas is where the water on the road reflects the light away from the driver before it can reach the reflective tape/paint on the roadway, rendering the lines much less visible.
      • by nschubach (922175)

        Who gets to put that white paint on all the deer hanging out roadside?

        • Sweet baby Jesus does. He puts dots on their body and a bit on the tail. Every time you hit a deer on the road, sky-daddy puts sweet baby Jesus in time-out.

          And I think it's unfair, because no amount of paint that poor poor little sweet baby Jesus puts on them, will stop those stupid deer from getting scared of the bright fucking lights.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Its not the brightness, its the focus and alignment that is the problem.

  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@l u n arworks.ca> on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:43PM (#45873249) Homepage

    Awesome. So now all those assholes in luxury cars can have even brighter headlights to blind me in my mirrors.

    • Awesome. So now all those assholes in luxury cars can have even brighter headlights to blind me in my mirrors.

      Or the front. It's even worse over here in the UK what with the roads being so much smaller than you guys in the states. It means the oncoming traffic isn't offset from you very much, meaning you get a lot more of the light spilling and blinding you. It's a bloody nightmare driving on a country lane in the early evening during the winter when some gimp with xenon lights (coming as standard on a LOT more cares nowadays*) dazzles me and leaves me virtually blind, despite him only being on dipped beams.

    • It might be ok, though..

      In daylight you can identify most of the bad drivers by several signs. For instance, they may have text on the sides and an unusual number of antennas, or there might be a flattened olympics logo (minus one ring) in chrome on the front and back of the vehicle.

      At night, though, the decals are not easily identifiable, so we need some way for other drivers to be aware of the dangers to be able to avoid the risk. Unusually shaped headlights are one way this has been solved in the past,

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You've got it backwards. Those assholes in luxury cars have HID headlamps, which are little arc lamps driven by an electronic ballast typically located near the lamp. There's no phosphors between you and the painfully bright light point source.

      HID headlamps are available to assholes anywhere, of course, via inexpensive conversion kits.

    • by Trogre (513942)

      Do you use the night-prism mode in your rear view mirror? Or is this more a problem with wing mirrors?

      • THANK YOU!

        NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK THAT STUPID LITTLE TOGGLE LEVER IS FOR.

        PEOPLE TAILGATE ON ME AND I GO TAILGAIT WHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

        Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

        Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING. People tailgate on me and I go tailgait whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
    • Don't assume its intentional. My wife's car came with those super-bright headlights, there is no way for the driver to dim them. Didn't even know we had them until the first time we drove the car at night.

      The beams are very sharp so under normal conditions they won't blind drivers, but hills and bumps can be a huge problem.

      In addition to total power output, the "brightness" of the lights (power per solid angle, per area) is a big problem - HD lights are much brighter in this sense, and lasers enormously br

    • Jokes aside, driving a luxury car doesn't make you an asshole. Driving a Prius does.
  • Europeans remark how comfortable and pleasant an experience driving in the U.S. at night. H.I.D. bright headlight illumination dominates there and people have no US-style incandescent headlamps which they prefer because it makes night vision so much more effective when driving against oncoming traffic.

    • by Malc (1751)

      Bullshit. I hate driving in N. America: the head-lights are dim, but what really annoys me is how many people have them poorly adjusted. The worst culprits seem to be pick-ups with their lights askew causing in particular a lot of dazzling from mirrors which I rarely get in Europe. Many European countries allow brighter lights, but they also require them to be be shielded in a specific way. For instance, the annual MOT test that all vehicles over three years old in the UK must pass explicitly checks ligh [transportoffice.gov.uk]

      • by PPH (736903)

        EU regs for beam patterns are also a lot tighter than those for US headlights. My H4 headlamps on a '79 Porsche have a very definite beam cutoff line above which very little light is emitted. The optics also produce a low beam pattern which reaches much farther along the right side of the road than to the left (where the oncoming traffic is). I've never seen anything of this sort on US spec cars (mine happens to be a gray market import).

        • I don't know if they're still made, but Cibie used to make their "Z-Beam" brand headlights that did exactly this as far back as the 70s. If parked facing a wall, you could clearly see a horizontal line above which almost no light was present.
  • Do not look at oncoming car with remaining eye [kategreene.net].

    (I know, I know; the mentioned headlights don't actually shoot lasers out of the car... but that's the first thing that came to mind when I read the headline).

  • I don't think we are that far from a major evolutionary advance: cats developing the ability to shoot lasers from their mouths. The galaxy will soon be at peace.
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday January 05, 2014 @10:46PM (#45875267) Journal

    Why not improve our night vision, instead of our headlights? There are various sorts of night vision goggles. It wouldn't be as easy, but it would avoid the problems caused by overly bright headlights. Could maybe build some kind of night vision enhancement into the windshield.

    Or, maybe when we have computers driving our cars, we can dispense with headlights.

    Seems the way we prefer to solve problems is by forcing the environment to adapt to us, rather than making changes on our side. When, however, the environment that we're imposing on includes us, then there is friction. Will we all need to wear special glasses when driving at night to cut down on the glare or something?

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