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Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

Posted September 07, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

If you've ever tried to negotiate sharp curves and turns on a dark country road, you'll appreciate this innovation. In addition to the latest generation of LED headlights, several European carmakers have installed laser versions that double the distance that the driver can see. The laser lights ignite automatically when you drive on rural roads, and an intelligent algorithm detects oncoming traffic to reduce their intensity. The manufacturer refers to this capability as "wrapping other cars in a cone of darkness." Unfortunately, for now at least regulations will prevent the companies from including the new lights on cars sold in the U.S.


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#1

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 10:09 AM

How does this affect oncoming traffic?

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#2
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 11:27 AM

I think that the article explains that quite well.

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#3

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 12:30 PM

Sounds a lot like the system BMW introduced a few years back.

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#10
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 7:19 AM

DEER! in the road happens at night. depending on the speed, You may see hitting it, but your reaction time to do anything but to hit it.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 7:51 AM

Yup.

A few years back, a deer hit me. I saw the dear in the ditch by the side of the road. I slowed to a crawl and moved to the middle of the road to give it room. It bolted anyway, running straight between my headlights and crushing my grille. It bounced up and ran off.

I don't know of anything I could have done differently that might have changed the outcome, but laser headlights certainly wouldn't have helped.

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#13
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 8:14 AM

Gun turrets may be your solution.

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#14
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 8:24 AM

but laser headlights certainly wouldn't have helped.

Depends, can you turn up the intensity of the laser headlights to vaporize the animal?

Seriously, I hit my share of deer,.... its interesting, time does slow down...... as you hit the deer.

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#16
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 10:31 AM

Time stops for the deer if you are in a semi truck.

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#25
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/09/2015 4:18 PM

My Brother and I, on a dark road in his Geo, where discussing how this stretch of road was famous for deer leaping..BAM! We got out and could not find the deer, but we heard coyotes howling. The whole drivers side was depressed.

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#26
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/09/2015 5:55 PM

Friend of mine went elk hunting, I don't recall where , Dakotas,.... Any how, I guess my friends brother in law who was driving saw a herd off in the distance, as they were watching them,.... BAM!,....

I guess they ran over one.

Oh and btw, try to avoid hitting a wild boar.,.... I never did, but I can only imagine it wouldn't be good.

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#30
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:20 PM

"The whole drivers side was depressed."

Okay, so the driver and possibly the driver's side rear seat passenger were sad. This is the first time I've heard coyote howling to be depressing. Eerie, yes; mournful, often; but never before depressing.

And why were the other passengers still happy?

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#31
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:32 PM
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#33
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:51 PM

Gold I tell you, that movie is gold!

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#32
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:47 PM

My Brother, the driver and I, the driver's side rear seat passenger, heard the coyotes mournfully howling what sounded like "Looook at the twoooo a-holes in the Geoooow". We looked and could not find any holes, but quite a few dents.

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#4

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 1:03 PM

While I never expect to be driving an exotic car at high speed on a dark country road, I believe there is a need to improve a driver's vision in adverse conditions. Of course, when one is faced with difficult visibility conditions such as rain, fog, or snow, the obvious response is to drive at an appropriate speed. Yet, even exercising caution, I have found myself driving literally blind, at least for a few minutes, when I have encountered unexpected conditions.

Add to that the fact that as I have aged, my night vision has decreased. My greatest problem is glare from oncoming traffic, especially in wet conditions.

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#5

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 1:42 PM

Where's Preston Tucker and his articulating center-headlamp when we need him?

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#6

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 3:09 PM

I bought a 2015 sedan this past Winter. It has really bright headlights, which are great for freeway driving. One nice feature is that the headlights pivot slightly when making a turn, helping to illuminate the road ahead on the curve.

The problem is that there is a very sharp dividing line in the vertical axis between the roadway that is well lit and the region above it that is unlit. As a result, when driving in the hilly area where I live I'd have to slow down to a crawl to make sure I didn't run in to a person or car or object sitting in the road on the hill in front of me.

I took my car back to the dealer to have the beams adjusted, but there is no good way to set the headlights so that I have clear vision of the hilly road without shining the full brightness of the headlights into the eyes of oncoming cars. (There is almost no difference between the high beams and the low beams.) So now I sometimes get annoyed drivers flashing their high beams at me, even though I'm using my low beams.

I prefer the older style headlights. The beam may not be quite as bright directly in front of me as with the new headlights, but I prefer to have some idea of what's in or near the road, aside from what's within the 100 foot zone straight ahead.

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#9
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 7:17 AM

Oldsmobile Toronado and Intrique side lights when making a turn (Using your turn signals), I had the Intrique and I felt there were very handy.

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#12
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 7:58 AM

Your illustration hits the mark. On hilly back roads, the "projector headlights" are useless. For me it's even worse when I have my three 200+ lb sons in the back seat. The headlights are then aimed directly at oncoming drivers.

I prefer the old style, less focussed headlamps. Give me some illumination above the road.

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#34
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 1:48 PM

As someone who lives literally "in the woods" where we must dodge deer and bear quite regularly, I appreciate what you are saying. Right now is prime collision time - male deer are in rut and do really stupid things, like attacking cars head-on. On my bicycle I like the narrow extended beam, because I have one on my helmet and can scan the sides if I must. In my car, with fixed lights, give me shorter distance/wide angle beams, please.

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#7

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 3:37 PM

Yes well, there's a reason that, "The archaic U.S. federal automotive lighting regulations prohibit technically advanced headlamps ".

That's because these ultra bright flamethrowers can easily blind oncoming drivers at night.

We've all seen them already. Intense, pure white beams of light on some low rider or rice burning street racer or worst of all some 8 foot tall macho 4 wheel drive truck with headlights right at eye level.

The jerks who drive who drive these vehicles will soon find ways to defeat the dimming software, no doubt.

This stuff is OK on a closed course, but do you really need to impress your girlfriend or drinking buddies that badly?

Written by an old man who, until last year, loved to drive race cars. (just not at night)

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#8
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/07/2015 10:35 PM

We have 2 VW models (Tiguan and Touareg) that have "adaptive" headlights which follow the steering around curves. It really helps on CO mountain roads to see the road ahead and any deer or elk near the roadway.

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#19
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 2:06 PM

The old Chrysler Imperials solved that problem by simply having a near indestructible front end.

The deer you avoided today may very well be the one that kills your loved ones tomorrow so drive a vehicle that can run the buggers down without damage today!

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#20
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 2:36 PM

My parents had a 1973 Chrysler Newport, it kept the occupants safe......

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#29
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:15 PM

"A deer killed mah pappy, and raped mah mammy. That's why I'm out to end every last one of them, and why my kid brother has antlers. Don't shoot my bro, though; he can't help bein' the way God made him."

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#15
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 9:18 AM

The photo at the top of the thread illustrates the other reason US laws prohibit the 'technically advanced' headlights.

That car has its headlights on.

Those headlights are not announcing the cars presence clearly.

We use 'archaic' headlights for the same reason the Rules of the Road state that you should have your headlights on when driving on the highway, even in broad daylight.

In the US, headlights are not just to help you see, they're to help you BE SEEN. They're SUPPOSED to 'waste light' in a wide cone so that people know there's a car out there, so you see the headlights in the side view mirror before you change lanes on I-90, so you see the 'UFO landing site' glow of the lights of the car on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL.

Headlights are safety devices that get you noticed. That's why the older rules allowed cars to drive without headlights, if and only if, they had a servant walking 30 feet ahead with a lit red lantern.

Europeans may do things differently, but over there A) the traffic laws are QUITE different from the US, and B) over there, they all have Universal Socialized Health Care, so it's not as big a deal if someone gets hit by a car because the driver couldn't see them on the upslope of the hill.

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#17
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 12:14 PM

And with a Halogen 4- light, bar, on the roof of that truck….

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#27
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:09 PM

...you can see for miles, through solid rock, and BE SEEN from space, by the alien base on the Dark Side of the Moon.

But you will also be seen by Officer I've-had-a-bad-day-so-now-you-will-too (Officer Friendly was assigned to another beat this shift), who will point out, in no uncertain terms, that those 'auxiliary lights' are not street legal, and must be OFF and COVERED when on public roads.

Lights that can be used to blind/dazzle oncoming traffic is generally frowned upon, for safety reasons. Even the mobile spotlights on decommissioned cop cars used as taxis need to be OFF and turned to face the body of the car when not in use, and they can only be used when the vehicle is stopped, and only to illuminate a nearby sidewalk, NEVER to shine at another car.

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#35
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 1:59 PM

The term "flamethrowers" reminded me of that name given to headlights in the Warshowski catalog. They were really 12v aircraft landing lights.

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#18

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 1:55 PM

Yes - and I remember well the automatic dimming on my 1987 Cougar, that waited until oncoming traffic high beamed you before lowering the lights to low beam. Too much automatic control can become a dangerous thing.

I also appreciate how much the light from these could interfere with oncoming traffic. I run a 1000 Lumen tight beam LED head light (literally on my head) when riding bicycles at night. I stare to the right when traffic is coming towards me to avoid blinding them. If the oncoming car doesn't lower his beams, all I have to do is turn my head so I am looking a bit to the left of straight ahead, not even into the other lane, and the lights get lowered ASAP. Now multiply that by what those car lights project.

So what does this have to do with pumps. Just asking.

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#21

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 4:00 PM

"The laser lights ignite automatically when you drive on rural roads, and an intelligent algorithm detects oncoming traffic to reduce their intensity. "

Sounds like something else to go wrong.

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#24
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/09/2015 1:45 PM

That's what my father said when he saw his first 4 door car.

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#22

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 4:09 PM

I recall when certain states in the US would not allow clear covers over the headlights, Jaguar and VW to name two.

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#23

Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/08/2015 10:46 PM

(Un) (?) Fortunately, for now at least regulations will prevent companies from including the new lights on cars sold in the U.S.

Of course they don't have regulations preventing public stupidity either.

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#28
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Re: Laser Headlights Reach Farther Into the Night

09/10/2015 12:11 PM

"Of course they don't have regulations preventing public stupidity either."

If they did, we wouldn't be able to run the country, because all of Congress would be incarcerated.

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