Lasers have an illuminating power 1,000 times more powerful than LEDs – which up until just recently provided the greatest illumination power of all the automotive technologies.
Laser technology has some compelling advantages over standard illumination system too.
For example: laser automobile lights can be much smaller than conventional lighting systems and they look pretty darn cool (a big selling factor).
We know what you are thinking, can’t lasers hurt your eyes? Not a problem here, because of the way that the beam energy is directed, and then ultimately is displayed out of the headlight housing, is “indirect”. What happens with each headlight is that three blue lasers positioned at the rear of the assembly fire onto a set of mirrors closer to the front. Those mirrors focus the laser energy into a lens filled with yellow phosphorus. The yellow phosphorus, when excited by the blue laser, emits an intense white light. That white light shines backward, onto a reflector then the reflector bounces the more diffused white light forward to illuminate the road. No direct laser beams exit the assembly.
Because laser-powered headlight systems can be much smaller than standard headlights, they open up a new world for automotive designers. Designers now have a larger palate to use when crafting the front of new automobiles. They have more flexibility to make more aerodynamic shapes or just to fit more stuff into the engine compartment with the freed-up space.
None of the major automobile manufacturers have said when laser-powered headlights will be a regular option on their production vehicles. Given the “arms-race” nature of the auto business, it’s probably a safe bet that all of them are working on them. We will likely be seeing a great deal more about automotive laser illumination systems in coming years.
Source: Akins Ford