Laser headlights make it to the U.S.

For the longest time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) simply didn’t allow for the use of laser headlights on U.S. streets.

Allen Nogee (shown here in caricature) is president and principal laser analyst at Laser Markets Research in Scottsdale, AZ.
Allen Nogee (shown here in caricature) is president and principal laser analyst at Laser Markets Research in Scottsdale, AZ.
Laser Focus World

Allen Nogee’s latest blog describes in detail the laser headlight availability in U.S. automobiles:


“For several years I have been very excited by the application which uses lasers as a light source. This is an application not only with large revenue potential, but also with wide stretching implications. One area I have spoken about in the past has been laser cinema projection, where lasers are used to produce white light in a cinema projector, and basically replace the xenon bulb typically used (the laser is NOT projected directly on the screen). This is an application that has been growing strongly, especially in China where there has been an explosion of new movie theaters, which now exceed the number of theaters in the U.S.

A second example of lasers as a light source is automotive laser headlights, typically high beams. The first laser headlights appeared in 2014, where they were adopted by BMW and Audi on very expensive cars and on cars only available in Europe. For BMW it was the i8, where eight vehicles with laser headlights for the high beam were delivered to customers in June 2014. The BMW i8 could be picked up for a mere $136,000 at the time, and uses three blue laser diodes per headlight, that passes through a prism, then a yellow phosphorous lens that turns the light from blue to white. Audi included laser headlights on its 2014 R8 LMX which at the time cost $289,000. It used four blue laser diodes per headlight in combination with LEDs. Laser headlights for these models added $8,000 – $12,000 to the price of the car. Even for these very expensive cars, this represented a rather large chunk, and the lasers were only used for the high beams.

Other, more reasonably priced cars, like the Audi A7, started getting laser headlight options around 2017, but still only in Europe. But why no U.S. models?  For the longest time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) simply didn’t allow for the use of laser headlights on U.S. streets, but after years of lobbying by the automobile manufacturers, it appears things are changing. In October 2018, the NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rule-making that would allow for better headlights.”


Continue reading this blog from Allen Nogee at Laser Markets Research (see source link below) and don’t forget to review Nogee’s laser market forecast numbers in our annual Laser Focus World report entitled “Annual Laser Market Review & Forecast 2019: What goes up...”.

 SOURCE: Laser Markets Research; https://www.lasermarketsresearch.com/laser-headlights-make-it-to-the-u-s/


 


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