Audi extends its lead with high-resolution Matrix Laser technology

Extending its lead in automotive lighting technology, Audi is working on the headlghts of the future in a sponsored project “intelligent laser light for compact and high-resolution adaptive headlights" (iLaS) alongside partners from industry and science. Matrix Laser technology and its high resolution will make roadway illumination even more flexible and highly versatile in all situations.

Matrix Laser technology is based on the LaserSpot for high-beam lamps, first introduced by Audi on the R8 LMX. Bright lasers can now allow Audi to integrate projector technology in a compact and powerful headlight.

A rapidly moving micro-mirror redirects the laser beam. At low speeds the light is distributed to a larger projection area meaning a wide range of road is illuminated. At high speeds the intensity and range of light are significantly increased, which is especially useful during motorway driving and allows the light to be distributed precisely. The brightness of different lighting zones can be varied by controlling the illumination dwell times in the specific zones.

Intelligent and lightning-fast activation of the laser diodes in relation to mirror position makes the broadening and narrowing of the luminous beam dynamic and highly variable meaning the road is always brightly lit without causing glare for other vehicles. The main advantage of Matrix Laser technology from Audi over Matrix LED is that the technology offers even finer dynamic resolution resulting in a higher degree of utilisation, which leads to greater safety in road traffic.

In the new technology, blue laser diodes from OSRAM radiate light with a wavelength of 450 nanometres onto a quickly moving mirror three millimetres in size. The mirror then redirects the blue laser light to a converter, which converts it to white light and projects it on to the road. The mirror itself is a micro-optical system, is very sturdy and exhibits very long life.

Audi has always been a leader in automotive light technology. Some of the brands key innovations include:

  • 2003: Audi A8 with adaptive light
  • 2004: Audi A8 W12 with LED daytime running lights
  • 2008: Audi R8 with all-LED headlights
  • 2010: Audi A8 with headlights networked with the navigation data
  • 2012: Audi R8 with dynamic turn signal lights
  • 2013: Audi A8 with Matrix LED headlights
  • 2014: Audi R8 LMX with LaserSpot for the high-beam lamps

In the framework of this iLaS project, Audi is working closely with Bosch, Osram and the Lichttechnischen Institut (LTI; “Lighting Technology Institute") of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). The project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.