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CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the shine-on dept.

Shark 295

jeffb (2.718) writes "Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on optics.org describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a 'laser beam' from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the 'speckling' interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.

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meme (4, Funny)

confused one (671304) | about 9 months ago | (#45873175)

Now, to make the meme complete, we need a car model named "shark".

Re:meme (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 9 months ago | (#45873241)

We just need someone to make a startup auto company named Friggin. The Shark could then be their first model.

Re:meme (0)

edelbrp (62429) | about 9 months ago | (#45873317)

I heard you wanted a laser on your shark so we sharked your laser with a shark so you could laser it.

Hyundai Tiburon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873323)

https://www.google.com/search?q=hyundai+tiburon&oq=hyundai+tiburon&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3742j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8

Re: meme (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873343)

Already exists. Tiburon means shark in spanish. Hyundai must have been anxiously awaiting this.

Re: meme (4, Funny)

confused one (671304) | about 9 months ago | (#45873535)

A CEO somewhere in Korea is stroking his white cat...

Replaced by the Genesis (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 9 months ago | (#45873765)

Tiburons were replaced with the Genesis Coupe. The Tibby does not exist any longer in new models. So no frikkin sharks with lasers. Sorry.

Re:meme (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873463)

Now, to make the meme complete, we need a car model named "shark".

Hyundai Tiburon

Re:meme (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45873497)

Then maybe we could jump it.

Re:meme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873843)

You mean like the Hyundai Tiburon [spanishdict.com] ?

Audi Hood Ornament (0)

cstacy (534252) | about 9 months ago | (#45873181)

Audi should put a shark on the hood!

Re:Audi Hood Ornament (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873219)

http://www.tuvie.com/futuristic-audi-shark-sports-car-concept-just-won-desire-design-competition/

Re:Audi Hood Ornament (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#45873369)

So, apparently "possible to build using known technology" or "would work" are not criteria that matter in design competitions....

Re:Audi Hood Ornament (1)

lgw (121541) | about 9 months ago | (#45873727)

Not even a little. It's just about looks related to current products in some way. It's the designer's equivalent to the typical engineer-designed UI.

whoosh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873191)

cars with freakin'...oh wait

Movie (0, Offtopic)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45873203)

Here's a clip of the laser in action [youtube.com] . The primary advantage seems to be that it improves visibility in foggy conditions.

Re:Movie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873347)

Different technology. RTFA.

Re:Movie (5, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | about 9 months ago | (#45873393)

The primary advantage seems to be that it improves visibility in foggy conditions.

The secondary advantage is that if you remove your headlight covers, you can light the car in front of you on fire with the touch of a button.

Re:Movie (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 9 months ago | (#45873635)

Take that, BMW-hole who cut me off!

Re:Movie (1)

lkernan (561783) | about 9 months ago | (#45873733)

I'll settle for the ability to blow out their tires.

Re:Movie (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#45873501)

That's a different concept entirely. This story is about headlights, and no actual laser light exits the car.

Re:Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873605)

Not so fast, it also effectively more than double your lights range.

Re:Movie (4, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 9 months ago | (#45873761)

Not so fast, it also effectively more than double your lights range.

So the fuckwads can blind people at twice the range.

It's so strange. I didn't realize that lighting was such a problem.

Keep making the lights stronger, and everyone will have to make them stronger. The iris will just close down more, and no gain, only less seeing ability after the onslought of light goes away.

in addition, these highly focused headlights were apparently designed for flatlanders. Nothing is more fun than being followed by someone with these very bright, very focused headlamps. As height differences occur between vehicles, you sometimes get treated to something similar to getting the highbeams flashed at you. Hundreds of times. So you end up moving the rearview and side mirrors out of the way.

Re:Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873905)

I have a very dark, highly reflective tint on my rear windshield for such assholes with overly bright headlights.

Stronger headlights (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873217)

Awesome. I drive a regular-sized car, and at night the SUVs are already a pain in the ass with their headlights being above the back end of my car, aimed right at my rear view mirror. And soon enough they'll be even stronger? Delightful.

Re: Stronger headlights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873245)

Speed up, gramps.

Re: Stronger headlights (3, Insightful)

Forbo (3035827) | about 9 months ago | (#45873259)

Stoplights?

Agreed, Laser Stoplights would be awesome!!!1 (2)

earls (1367951) | about 9 months ago | (#45873639)

nt

Re: Stronger headlights (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45874125)

Anti-tailgating tail lights.

If they looked like a deathstar beam weapon charging up, even better.

Re: Stronger headlights (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873275)

I drive the speed limit and not one kph faster.

If you want to go faster, pass me.

If you're too scared to pass me, that's your problem.

Re: Stronger headlights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873389)

IOW you're a piece of shit. Got it.

Re: Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873789)

Maybe if you'd quit actively trying to stop me from passing you, I'd do it, asshole.

Re: Stronger headlights (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873797)

And neither of you should be posting to slashdot while driving, jerks.

Re: Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873299)

How does speeding up avoid taller vehicle headlights from shining through a lower car's rear window?

Re: Stronger headlights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873701)

You can go 85mph on I-95 through this area (Philly and northern Delaware) and still get tailgated by morons constantly, that is not a solution.

Re: Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873929)

I prefer caltrops. They work better.

Re:Stronger headlights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873267)

Flip the mirror to the "high-beam" angle. That's ancient technology.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873321)

I'm not sure what you mean. Are talking about adjusting the mirror (with the help of the little switch that sits on it) so that I won't see a reflection? I do do that, but then, of course, I also lose the rear view mirror. Not to mention, I also catch a lot of the light from those headlights on my side mirrors, and there's not much I can do about that.

Re:Stronger headlights (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 9 months ago | (#45873381)

... Not to mention, I also catch a lot of the light from those headlights on my side mirrors, and there's not much I can do about that.

When bright lights are in my sideview mirror, I lift my hand to block the reflection. For oncoming headlights that are too bright, I avert my eyes to the right (I'm in U.S.) and follow the white line on the roadside.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873611)

When bright lights are in my sideview mirror, I lift my hand to block the reflection.

I do that for the left-hand side, but for the right-side it's a little more uncomfortable as I have to hold my hand up to my eyes (we drive on the right as well). But, either way, I don't do it unless I'm stopped - so with one-lane streets and when there's enough traffic that switching lanes takes a while, it's still a problem. It's not, by any means, a really terrible problem though, just more of an annoyance.

Re:Stronger headlights (2, Insightful)

flibbajobber (949499) | about 9 months ago | (#45873507)

Perhaps actually try it? All car mirrors have a second mirror behind the first, at precisely the angle that the switch adjusts by. When being followed by a car with bright headlights, flick the switch and you'll observe that you get a much-dimmed version of the same image. At night, you'll perfectly well be able to make out the car behind you.

Also, widen the angle of your side mirrors. You don't need to see your own doorhandles as reference - send the mirrors wider and you'll very soon become accustomed to the particular field of view that they now present. Your brain isn't nearly as dependent on seeing your own car as you think it is. If you have concerns you'll introduce a blinkspot at the cars rear flanks then relax - the slightest bobble of your head will cover that, if the main rear-view mirror doesn't already. Stop being a door-handler! With wider side mirrors and the rear-view mirror switch, you'll at worst have just one mirror shining headlights at you face, and not three.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873607)

Widening the mirrors is madness for city drivers. That's how drivers end up pulling out of a stationary line of traffic in to something coming up quickly in the adjacent lane.

Re:Stronger headlights (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 9 months ago | (#45873809)

Turn. Your. Head.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873689)

You're absolutely right. Like another poster said, flipping it does cost you visibility of things without light sources, but those things are mostly unimportant as they won't catch up with you driving forward anyways, unless it's someone who forgot to turn on their headlights (which might be more likely in the period right after dusk), or has broken headlights or something.
 
But yeah, you're entirely right.

Re:Stronger headlights (4, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | about 9 months ago | (#45873857)

Perhaps actually try it? All car mirrors have a second mirror behind the first, at precisely the angle that the switch adjusts by. When being followed by a car with bright headlights, flick the switch and you'll observe that you get a much-dimmed version of the same image. At night, you'll perfectly well be able to make out the car behind you.

Well, not quite... On manually dimmed rear-view mirrors, what you're actually doing is switching to the surface reflection off of the glass, rather than the reflection off the silvered surface. On average, standard glass will reflect about 4% of the light striking its surface. The glass used in rearview mirrors is manufactured so that it's ever so slightly wedge shaped. During normal use, the reflection off the silvered surface dominates (and the 4% gets aimed down at your chest), but when you flip that little tab on the mirror, it aims the silvered reflection up into your car's headliner, and puts the front surface in its place.

This is also the reason why it's bad to have any kind of lighting (computers, DVD players, reading lights, etc... ) going in the back seat, especially if you have a light coloured headliner... It's pretty easy for the glow on the headliner to overwhelm the reflection of what's behind you.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873919)

Nice, thanks for the explanation.

Re:Stronger headlights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873361)

The problem with this - is that you are doing it to avoid "1" source. There may be many, many other items in your rearview that you now have lost visibility of, all because someone bought a pair of illegal 5K bulbs at Pep Boys and the po-po won't pull them over for reasons I can not see ( pun intended ).

I have been tempted and my local police tell me I can do it - put concave reflectors on my rear hood. Imagine following an ambulance but with polished metal aiming back at you.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873595)

They're often bright and high enough to light up my car's interior. The contrast, glare, and pupil contraction that result cause a noticeable loss of vision.

Re:Stronger headlights (2)

maz2331 (1104901) | about 9 months ago | (#45873515)

My 328i has xenon lights that are bright, but the car actively aims them away from other traffic. The beam is ALWAYS below the tail lights of any vehicle ahead of me, and I can watch the beam point away from oncoming vehicles.

Re:Stronger headlights (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 9 months ago | (#45873823)

My 328i has xenon lights that are bright, but the car actively aims them away from other traffic. The beam is ALWAYS below the tail lights of any vehicle ahead of me, and I can watch the beam point away from oncoming vehicles.

DO you have a newslette with this amazing device?

So tell me, if you are on a bumpy or hilly road, the manner in which your vehicle knows how far above or below you the other vehicle is.

It must be a really good system to know what distance above or below you multiple vehicles are.

While you bask in high tech bliss, your headlamps appear to be flashing high beams at other drivers.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873647)

A lot of the imports are too bright also and after market crap...... bright white. They don't need to be that bright, and once one goes by in the opposite direction then you're blind. If they're behind me, I try to reflect the light at their windshields if I can.

Re:Stronger headlights (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 9 months ago | (#45873855)

A lot of the imports are too bright also and after market crap...... bright white. They don't need to be that bright, and once one goes by in the opposite direction then you're blind. If they're behind me, I try to reflect the light at their windshields if I can.

In addition, the blue color is not the best color for acuity. It's actually one of the worst. If you want maximum acuity and clarity, green headlamps would be best. This has been known for a long time, being utilized in color darkroom work. It is possible to use a very dim green lamp to inspect developing color film for short periods.

Re:Stronger headlights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873985)

mod up
hate those people with extra bright headlamps already

Who owns the technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873223)

Is this patented?

Oh great (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 9 months ago | (#45873227)

Wonder how much this is going to cost and how much a replacement costs when it burns out. I'd love an Audi but they don't seem to score high on reliability.

Re:Oh great (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 9 months ago | (#45873415)

Or on lightbulbs that cost less than $300.

Regulate this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873229)

These need to be regulated more strongly. In my country, at least, the high-intensity headlights used in late-model luxury cars like Audis are too bright. 'Normal' mode is as bright, or brighter, than high-beams. In short, they blind other drivers.

Looking at TFA, it doesn't look like these will be any better:

As with BMW's lights the laser diodes are tiny in size, only a few microns across, but the light they output is incredibly powerful--the beam pattern stretches half a kilometer, or just under a third of a mile. That's around twice the range and three times the luminosity of the firm's already-powerful LED lights.

The light output of low-beam headlights needs to be regulated more strongly.

Re:Regulate this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873379)

Not really, this source is easily controllable. A bright light is no problem, unless it shines in your eyes. With this design it is possible to emit almost no power upwards so the lights are likely to appear dimmer than normal lights from the car in front. The road ahead however is clearly illuminated.

Re: Regulate this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873619)

"Hills" break this approach. You may find them in some areas

Re:Regulate this (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 9 months ago | (#45873441)

I agree. The lights are on cars for 2 reasons: 1) for other cars to see each other at night - 2) for the driver to see the edge of the road a certain distance ahead.

Back in the day when these things were being developed, they didn't have the technology invested in that white paint that's on the side of the road (many roads didn't even have a line at all). And now that white line is very reflective on almost all roads (speaking from the US at least), it seems that, if anything, we can tone down the headlights. I know that cars drive a lot faster than they used to, but most of the speed limits are the same as they've been for many years.

Re:Regulate this (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 9 months ago | (#45873615)

I agree. The lights are on cars for 2 reasons: 1) for other cars to see each other at night - 2) for the driver to see the edge of the road a certain distance ahead.

Back in the day when these things were being developed, they didn't have the technology invested in that white paint that's on the side of the road (many roads didn't even have a line at all). And now that white line is very reflective on almost all roads (speaking from the US at least), it seems that, if anything, we can tone down the headlights. I know that cars drive a lot faster than they used to, but most of the speed limits are the same as they've been for many years.

Um, no.... I think that you forget that there are locations in the US that get this stuff called snow and that said snow, and the dirt & salt they spread to melt the snow, tends to cover lines on the road. Then there is fog, for which brighter lights do not help, and dark rainy nights, where brighter lights do help.

In addition, much of the US has reduced their spending on repainting lines leaving areas with poor markings as the paint is quite expensive.

My old car had HIDs. I didn't get them with my new car because they were only included with a $5K luxury package. However, after driving through the recent snow storms in the the North East over the Christmas holidays, I would now gladly pay the extra money to get them installed.

I agree that some lights appear to be too bright on the road. However, the problem isn't the lights, it's the fact that they are not adjusted or installed correctly. There are laws on the books that cover headlights, however, most police do not enforce them as it's a relatively minor fine.

Re:Regulate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873995)

In short: if some git decides to "ha ha accidentally" blind you with his HID lights, you can "ha ha accidentally" blind the hell out of him with yours. Its kinda like guns in the US. It would be nice if no one had them, but because some people have them, it forces everyone to have them. Every year about 8000 Americans are killed with guns (down from a high of 14,000 in 1993). alQuieda? No, Republicans! More Americans are killed by gun than all the Americans and even the non-Americans killed on 9/11 (2996 killed including terrorists). And most Americans are good with that. So they are going to blind you with H.I.D. lights? Blind them back! Sheiss is the German word for 'crap'. Burn that smile off their face and get them uttering when you blind 'em back. "Das luxury mobile came viss dem". And yelled back: "Take that kraut boy!" Isn't technology wonderful!

Re:Regulate this (2)

nschubach (922175) | about 9 months ago | (#45874129)

Who gets to put that white paint on all the deer hanging out roadside?

Re:Regulate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873465)

Those high end HIDs don't cause my eyes to constrict much. I can look directly into an Audi driving at me with highs on, then look away and still have most of my night vision. It's quite cool, because those lights are actually "brighter", in the sense that they project a frequency of light that better helps seeing at night.

I will take someone with $2000 HIDs with highs on, to someone with $20 regular bulbs with lows on any day. I'm not talking about the cheap knock-off white USA HIDs, but the high quality Europe blue-ish HIDs. They do not give me the residual image in my vision when looked at directly during night time.

Foggy nights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873489)

Amen!

Back in December, we had this really foggy night. Those blue headlights just blinded me - and it seems more and more people are retrofitting them into their cars that didn't have them as OEM.

So, I slowed down in that winding foggy country road trying no to crash only to have some asshat in SUV/Pickup tailgate me. And when you slow down to pull over to let the ass pass; he leans on his horn like _I_ did something stupid.

Re:Regulate this (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 9 months ago | (#45873573)

Its not the brightness, its the focus and alignment that is the problem.

Re:Regulate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873581)

Yea... as with many things, it's a city / country-side difference. Bright headlights are a great boon if you're in the middle of nowhere. If you're in a city, you just need them bright enough to make yourself seen by other people, and many times anything more makes the road more dangerous, not less.

Still, I can't say that I've seen many reports of "death from too-bright headlights", so I guess it goes into the "I think other drivers are assholes" category, instead of the "serious problem here" pile.

Re:Regulate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873671)

Maybe your country needs to ante up its enforcement of light alignment. Those super bright lights on European cars have a cut-off pattern that shouldn't cause glare. The caveat is the sweep at the edge that illuminates road signs, etc, at the edge of the road, and this can catch you when they overtake you.

Awesome (4, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | about 9 months ago | (#45873249)

Awesome. So now all those assholes in luxury cars can have even brighter headlights to blind me in my mirrors.

Re:Awesome (1)

irwiss (1122399) | about 9 months ago | (#45873315)

You don't need a luxury car for that, just put some xenon headlamps on average impreza (or what do they call cool now? but has to have a spoiler) and don't dim, you can automagically become an asshole at no extra charge.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873407)

My car came with a spoiler, makes it look 'really fast' when it's parked. :)

Re:Awesome (1)

confused one (671304) | about 9 months ago | (#45873633)

Spoilers automatically make cars 20 mph faster. That's why they come on the sporty models.

Re:Awesome (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | about 9 months ago | (#45873543)

HID lights are illegal to retrofit on any road-going vehicle not originally equipped with them in the USA for just that reason. They really do need an active aiming system that is careful not to shine the beams at other vehicles.

Re:Awesome (4, Informative)

Strider- (39683) | about 9 months ago | (#45873795)

HID lights are illegal to retrofit on any road-going vehicle not originally equipped with them in the USA for just that reason. They really do need an active aiming system that is careful not to shine the beams at other vehicles.

Technically, the Xenon/HID retrofit kits that put the lamp into your existing headlamp housing are illegal. If you retrofit by replacing the entire headlamp assembly, then it is legal. This is due to the differences in the optics required to achieve the required illumination pattern. You can not achieve a legal lighting pattern when you install a xenon lamp in an incandescent housing, it just doesn't work.

A Halogen lamp produces its light over a (short) line, while a xenon lamp is much closer to a point source of light. As such, the optical design of the lenses/reflectors is significantly different.

Re:Awesome (2)

Sketchly (1354369) | about 9 months ago | (#45873371)

Yeah, but they're probably not going to be hammerproof

Re:Awesome (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about 9 months ago | (#45873443)

Awesome. So now all those assholes in luxury cars can have even brighter headlights to blind me in my mirrors.

Or the front. It's even worse over here in the UK what with the roads being so much smaller than you guys in the states. It means the oncoming traffic isn't offset from you very much, meaning you get a lot more of the light spilling and blinding you. It's a bloody nightmare driving on a country lane in the early evening during the winter when some gimp with xenon lights (coming as standard on a LOT more cares nowadays*) dazzles me and leaves me virtually blind, despite him only being on dipped beams.

Re:Awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873537)

It's even worse over here in the UK /.../ It's a bloody nightmare driving on a country lane

Stop driving on the wrong side of the road.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873669)

That is funny! (Should have a much higher score!)

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873547)

The reason you are getting blinded is that the gimp has installed aftermarket bulbs (HID usually) into the standard headlight housing. This combination causes the lights to spread light too high and wide because the light is at a different position in relation to the reflector - it's out of focus. A complete change of housing+bulb solves the problem for other drivers but said gimps don't spend the extra money. Cars that are designed for the HID bulbs do not generally cause this problem, if fact their designers go to great lengths to make sure the headlight is precisely aimed at the road not into incoming traffic.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873519)

I'm one of those 'assholes with a luxury car'. I bet you're one of those assholes with a shitty car and giant bass speakers. You wish you had my money. I do point my headlights downward by adjusting them. Posting as AC naturally.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873937)

Nah, you sound like one of those assholes who bought a luxury car by taking out a loan you couldn't afford. You only think you have money and are willing to go deep into debt thinking that people you hate will impressed by that overpriced metal box with luxury brand stickers on it. Dumbasses like yourself are what the Cadillac Cimarron was built for.

Re:Awesome (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#45873523)

It might be ok, though..

In daylight you can identify most of the bad drivers by several signs. For instance, they may have text on the sides and an unusual number of antennas, or there might be a flattened olympics logo (minus one ring) in chrome on the front and back of the vehicle.

At night, though, the decals are not easily identifiable, so we need some way for other drivers to be aware of the dangers to be able to avoid the risk. Unusually shaped headlights are one way this has been solved in the past, but unusually bright lights might be sufficient as well.

Re:Awesome (1)

Cbs228 (596164) | about 9 months ago | (#45873867)

+1. In recent years, I have noticed a distinct upward trend in the headlight output of new vehicles produced here in the States. The worst offenders are high-profile SUVs and trucks, which have headlights that are set very high, but even late-model sedans have very bright lights. It has gotten to the point where oncoming traffic, on the other side of divided highways, is annoyingly bright in my windshield—to say nothing of the ones that are behind me. When I drive my '02 wagon on the interstate, I cannot see my own headlights' beam pattern: the vehicles behind me drown it out.

I fear that automakers are engaging in an arms race to build the brightest lights: clearly, you can see the best when your headlights overwhelm any other source. I don't believe this is particularly safe, since you have more to worry about from a vehicle that can't see clearly around you than you do from any unlit object you are likely to encounter. For all the carnage they can cause, a deer poses much less of a threat and carries much less momentum than a car going 70 mph. In urban settings, having the brightest lights prevents you from seeing anything not in your main beams. Pedestrians don't have headlights.

There are times when high-powered lights are useful, such as in daytime running lights or for driving on unpopulated back roads. But this is why we invented the "high beam" switch. These "laser headlights" will be nothing more than a fancy selling point and a nuisance to other drivers. A real improvement would be an IR illuminator or a collision avoidance sensor.

There is one added benefit to these new lights, however. Drivers with those high-intensity, high-set lights are surprisingly unwilling to tailgate me. I suspect that whenever they get dangerously close, my mirrors reflect their own headlights right back into their faces.

Re:Awesome (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45874049)

You've got it backwards. Those assholes in luxury cars have HID headlamps, which are little arc lamps driven by an electronic ballast typically located near the lamp. There's no phosphors between you and the painfully bright light point source.

HID headlamps are available to assholes anywhere, of course, via inexpensive conversion kits.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT !! WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCHE!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873357)

In the middle of the night !! Said the silicone sister and her manager mister !!

Re:BLINDED BY THE LIGHT !! WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCH (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 9 months ago | (#45873567)

That's revved up like a deuce.

I believe it's: " reved up like a deuce" (1)

klubar (591384) | about 9 months ago | (#45873587)

...blinded by the light reved up like a deuce. A "deuce" is slang for a street rod which probably didn't have laser headlights. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_B_(1932)#Deuce_coupe)

I hate to think how much these BMW laser headlights will cost to replace after a minor fender bender. I remember when all the headlights were the standard round ones and probably cost $20 or $30 to replace. Even cheap headlights are in the hundreds of dollars now... the current BMW headlight is probably $1000.

Now you kids get off my lawn.

Re:BLINDED BY THE LIGHT !! WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCH (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 9 months ago | (#45873617)

WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCHE!!

The lyrics are "revved up like a deuce" in the Manfred Mann version. Or "cut loose like a deuce" in the Springsteen version. The term "Deuce" is a shortened version of "Deuce coupe" Which refers to a 1932 Ford coupe, and sometimes used to refer to any two door Ford hot rod. But the term deuce was originally used in reference to the "2" in the 1932 model year. Springsteen once joked that the song wasn't popular until Manfred Mann changed the lyrics to be about a feminine hygiene product.

Re:BLINDED BY THE LIGHT !! WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCH (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45874065)

I've never been able to hear anything other than wrapped up like a douche in the aroma of the night in the popular version. I never thought that's what it was...

tubgiCrl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873409)

teeth into when Backwards. To the they learn from our of progrees. may well remain United States of the mundane chores

Re:tubgiCrl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873491)

By the power of sega cd when shove technology activate for litecoin future in soviet state of the governance..

fuck a GNAa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873453)

Please moder4te [goat.cx]

The minute a Texan's daughter dies from a crash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873597)

Unfortuantely nothing will probably be done about the insanely bright headlights until a Texan's daughter dies from a crash due to blinding white cook-your-eyes-out headlights.

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-hotel-phones-dial-911-easily-help-enact-kari-s-law

Euro-blindness incoming (1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 9 months ago | (#45873637)

Europeans remark how comfortable and pleasant an experience driving in the U.S. at night. H.I.D. bright headlight illumination dominates there and people have no US-style incandescent headlamps which they prefer because it makes night vision so much more effective when driving against oncoming traffic.

Re:Euro-blindness incoming (1)

Malc (1751) | about 9 months ago | (#45873737)

Bullshit. I hate driving in N. America: the head-lights are dim, but what really annoys me is how many people have them poorly adjusted. The worst culprits seem to be pick-ups with their lights askew causing in particular a lot of dazzling from mirrors which I rarely get in Europe. Many European countries allow brighter lights, but they also require them to be be shielded in a specific way. For instance, the annual MOT test that all vehicles over three years old in the UK must pass explicitly checks light alignment to ensure that other drivers aren't dazzled [transportoffice.gov.uk] .

Re:Euro-blindness incoming (1)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45874077)

EU regs for beam patterns are also a lot tighter than those for US headlights. My H4 headlamps on a '79 Porsche have a very definite beam cutoff line above which very little light is emitted. The optics also produce a low beam pattern which reaches much farther along the right side of the road than to the left (where the oncoming traffic is). I've never seen anything of this sort on US spec cars (mine happens to be a gray market import).

Its war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873677)

A war of light. What we need is a steerable reflector to fire the light back at the dh's that try to blind everyone else.

Geez Audi are nutz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873693)

It seems they have incorporated rear pointing lasers in the rear lights too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIBwWGh9I90

Narrow beam? Not so useful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45873859)

A narrow beam that is project 500m down the road and doesn't include the sides of the road won't illuminate the deer standing by the side of the road, etc.

I don't want to just see down the road, I want to see what's on the side of the road so that I know what might potentially end up being on the road or ...

They could do better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45874103)

Back in the day, Hella made a sealed-beam headlight form that used a halogen bulb. The headlight lens was made to put the light on the road, not just radiate out in all directions as molded headlights do today. I could see farther with my low beams then than I can with my high beams now, and no-one ever flashed their lights at me. These headlights even opened up a bit to illuminate the roadside more fully. You could pull up to a wall and clearly see where the light went -- hardly any escaped above the two-foot mark. On the road, ONLY the road was lit. Following another car, I could see the light/dark border BELOW the top of their trunk. I am certain that if US manufacturers wanted to, they could computer-design molded lights to do this -- almost certainly they are computer designed now. Why aren't they?

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