What does BMW have to do with TVs, Cell Phones and Wireless Weight Scales? They are all going to be trying to wow the thousands of people gathered in Las Vegas next week for CES. CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, and it is a yearly convention where companies from all over the world gather to show off their latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos. Over the last few years more and more automakers have used the show to demonstrate new and interesting technology that was going to make its way to customer cars in a few years. This year BMW is charging into CES with a new concept car that is focused on demonstrating new and exciting lighting technology that uses lasers and OLEDs.

BMW’s first production laser headlight system called Laserlight debuted on the futuristic i8 hybrid sports car. At CES, BMW will demonstrate the newest iteration of Laserlight that uses various sensors, cameras and driver assistance systems to create a headlight that has twice the range of conventional headlights — up to 600 meters (1,968.5 feet). To put that distance into a more recognizable form, that is a distance of more than one-third of a mile.

BMW is also looking into incorporating OLED technology. OLED is an acronym for organic light emitting diode, and it is similar to LED technology, but it has some distinct advantages in terms of brightness, color clarity, heat production, energy usage and size. The 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept used this technology in the tail lights. While LEDs are a “point” light source, meaning the all the light comes from a single point, OLEDs emanate a uniform light across the entirety of their surface. The elements themselves are extremely thin at just 1.4 mm thick. OLED technology has been in use in several cellphone displays for a few years now, but BMW wants to use this new and exciting technology in cars.

Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s intelligent laser lights.

Why it matters

By using new and advanced forms of lighting technology, BMW can make cars that are safer, cheaper to manufacture, more fuel efficient and more stylish. It may not seem like much, but having ultra-bright lights can mean the difference in a collision. The sooner you can see an obstacle or dangerous situation, the more time you have to react. Laser and LEDs also take up less space and weigh less. Every ounce that BMW can save in weight means better fuel economy and performance. With less electricity needed to run these systems, BMW can also fit smaller batteries and alternator systems, once again reducing weight and cost. Finally with things like OLED taillights, BMW can introduce intricate lighting systems that have never been seen before. Depending on how the lights are integrated, BMW can actually cause the light shapes to change. Imagine if when your hazard lights are active, your flashing taillights actually formed into the shape of a hazard triangle. We are only just scratching the surface of what these technologies can do.

2015 BMW i8

2015 BMW i8 High Resolution Exterior
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The BMW i8 is the flagship of the Bavarian brand’s newest I Series lineup. A two-door sports car, the I8 combines a small, three-cylinder engine with a hybrid system to create 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to the i8’s carbon-fiber construction and low weight, that is enough power to hit 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to a very German 155 mph. As a plug-in hybrid, the i8 is capable of traveling up to 22 miles on pure electric power, but combined with the gasoline motor the car will travel up to 375 miles without stopping for fuel or electricity.

Press Release

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from 6 to 9 January 2015, BMW presents a concept vehicle that showcases the kind of lighting innovations we can expect in the future, while at the same time reinforcing its leadership position in the field of lighting technology.

BMW Laserlight becomes intelligent thanks to connectivity.
The Laserlight technology that made its production car debut in the BMW i8 sets benchmarks in terms of range and intensity. At up to 600 metres, the range of BMW laser lighting is more than twice that of conventional headlights. At the CES, BMW Laserlight now displays its credentials as an intelligent lighting system thanks to being linked up to cameras, sensors and driver assistance systems, opening up the prospect of numerous new functions in the future.

OLED technology for the rear lights opens up new possibilities.

BMW already presented tail lights featuring OLED technology with its
BMW Vision Future Luxury concept unveiled in 2014. By contrast with LEDs, which are a point light source, OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) generate a uniform light across their entire surface. The elements are very thin at just 1.4 millimetres in thickness. This allows individual modules to be activated separately and opens up new possibilities for the design of rear lights.

In presenting its BMW Organic Light with OLED technology in Las Vegas, BMW reveals an impressive glimpse of the potential offered by this innovative technology.

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