The laser lighting technology which Audi will introduce on its Le Mans 24 Hours cars in June could be available on some of the company’s road going models within a year.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the technology had gravitated from the Le Mans racers to the Sport quattro laserlight concept car.
“At the moment we are at the beginning,” said Stephan Berlitz, head of lighting innovations.
“There is only one laser diode we can get for automotive, and that is terribly expensive. But we want to do it.
“First we will show it here, then hopefully we will win Le Mans and at next year’s CES I think you will be able to sit in a real [production] car with laser light.”
The system works on the same principle as a blu-ray player. A phosphor blade is activated by blue light to create white light. All that is needed to transform the LED lights already fitted to many Audis into laser lights is a laser diode within the lighting unit.
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The laser lights work only on full beam, doubling the range of vision to 500 metres. This a distinct advantage at Le Mans, where the leading cars can be travelling 70mph faster than the slowest on parts of the circuit, but it also improves safety for road cars.
There is no difference between the laser lights Audi will use at Le Mans and those on the Sport quattro concept car.
Audi has co-operated with Osman on the technology, but as yet the system is not in production. Berlitz estimates it will add 10% to costs compared with the matrix LED lights on the A8.