Monday, February 23, 2015

No Laser Headlights for Canadian Audi R8s



Last year, Audi shined a light on a new future of automotive illumination.

Laser headlights has been promoted by the German automaker as a powerful, efficient way to light driving paths at night or low light conditions. Championing the technology for a long time, Audi was one of the first manufacturers to offer laser lighting on a production automobile (BMW pulled off a tricky move to become the very first to market with laser headlights by offering eight customers for free on the i8 sports car). A component of the limited edition Audi R8 LMX, laser lights began beaming on European roads for summer of 2014. Only 300 micrometers in diameter, the laser spot employed on the 99 existing R8 LMX provides a strengthened source to supplement the LED high beams. With laser lighting, the R8 LMX edition boasted twice the range of illumination as with full-LED headlights (the equivalent distance of five football fields. For the new version of their quattro supercar), Audi plans to broaden the prospects of laser headlights.

Audi's laser high beam headlights will be offered as an general option on their new R8. Consisting of one laser module operating four diodes, the strong beams of light do not shine directly on the road in the manner most motorists fear. The laser is projected at a mirror where it is focused on a lens of yellow phosphorous creating the useable high-beam quality white light.

Unfortunately for North American drivers, the next dimension of vehicle lighting on the Audi R8 will not be available. Due to regulatory issues considered less accepting of new lighting technology, laser headlights can not be sold on cars in the United States. Similar restrictions to the US rules exist in Canada. Car FYI can confirm Audi's laser headlights is not going to be immediately introduced on Canadian models of the upcoming R8. Laser headlights are the latest saga in a quiet yet active matter of contention in global vehicle lighting standards. Audi itself dealt with a similar issue when it debuted full-LED headlights in 2007. Along with laser headlights, Audi's intelligent Matrix headlight technology is also not currently for sale on North American cars. In too many cases with lighting technology on cars, it is the North American market that is behind European regulations. Until the mid-1980s, vehicles in the United States and Canada had been restricted to the use sealed-beam headlights while much of the world evolved to lighting using a replaceable bulb. 

Canada did demonstrate some independence from the United States back in 1990 when it mandated daytime running lights on all vehicles. As a Canadian who wishes to see a progressive approach for automotive technology exhibited in the policies on our road, I for one am eagerly awaiting brighter things to come. 

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