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Shark Transportation Technology

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

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 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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by Forbo ( 3035827 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:45PM (#45873259)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:47PM (#45873275)

    I drive the speed limit and not one kph faster.

    If you want to go faster, pass me.

    If you're too scared to pass me, that's your problem.

  • by flibbajobber ( 949499 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @06:25PM (#45873507)

    Perhaps actually try it? All car mirrors have a second mirror behind the first, at precisely the angle that the switch adjusts by. When being followed by a car with bright headlights, flick the switch and you'll observe that you get a much-dimmed version of the same image. At night, you'll perfectly well be able to make out the car behind you.

    Also, widen the angle of your side mirrors. You don't need to see your own doorhandles as reference - send the mirrors wider and you'll very soon become accustomed to the particular field of view that they now present. Your brain isn't nearly as dependent on seeing your own car as you think it is. If you have concerns you'll introduce a blinkspot at the cars rear flanks then relax - the slightest bobble of your head will cover that, if the main rear-view mirror doesn't already. Stop being a door-handler! With wider side mirrors and the rear-view mirror switch, you'll at worst have just one mirror shining headlights at you face, and not three.

  • Re:Regulate this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @06:34PM (#45873573) Homepage Journal

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

  • Re: Regulate this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @06:40PM (#45873619)

    "Hills" break this approach. You may find them in some areas

  • Re:Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @06:56PM (#45873761)

    Not so fast, it also effectively more than double your lights range.

    So the fuckwads can blind people at twice the range.

    It's so strange. I didn't realize that lighting was such a problem.

    Keep making the lights stronger, and everyone will have to make them stronger. The iris will just close down more, and no gain, only less seeing ability after the onslought of light goes away.

    in addition, these highly focused headlights were apparently designed for flatlanders. Nothing is more fun than being followed by someone with these very bright, very focused headlamps. As height differences occur between vehicles, you sometimes get treated to something similar to getting the highbeams flashed at you. Hundreds of times. So you end up moving the rearview and side mirrors out of the way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @07:00PM (#45873797)

    And neither of you should be posting to slashdot while driving, jerks.

  • Re:Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @08:09PM (#45874255) Homepage

    First OEM cars DONT BLIND PEOPLE. It's the dipshits that own hondas and pickup trucks that do aftermarket HID retrofits from ebay that blind people. REal stuff doesnt do that.

    So if you see someone's car that blinds you, that person themselves is a complete moron that did that on purpose. I imported the Honda Civic real HID assemblies tha tyou can not get in the USA and installed them on my Commuter 2007 civic. I have 3X the light on the road and a severe shutter cut off that makes it so that oncoming traffic actually sees DIMMER headlights than a stock car, while I can see further than most other cars with their high beams on.

    The headlight assemblies cost me $1500, more than the value of the POS ricer cars with the blue headlights you see on the road. Why did I do this upgrade? I drive close to 2500 miles a month in the dark, so I need to see better than the rest of you.

    Stock US cars out drive the headlights at 50mph. In order to safely drive at 70 on the highway you need to do real upgrades.

  • 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!

  • efficiency? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Monday January 06, 2014 @05:43AM (#45876671)

    So what's the efficiency of this technology compared to other methods of lighting?

  • Re:No, you don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Monday January 06, 2014 @02:50PM (#45880293) Homepage Journal

    I don't think it's assholicness. In my observation, it's some kind of herd instinct, to not be 'left behind'.

    I say this because I was passenger/trainer with a new driver who was trying extra hard to be road-polite, yet when someone tried to pass her (even on a 4-lane!), she'd unconsciously speed up -- and she didn't notice she was doing so until I pointed it out. I knew her well enough to know it was NOT intentional.

    Most drivers don't have someone watching their every move to bitchslap this behavior, so they just unconsciously do it -- and since they don't even notice themselves doing it, would swear up and down they did no such thing. You don't get anywhere telling these people they're assholes. You get further telling 'em to watch their speedometer better, so they learn to be aware of these unintentional behaviors.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe