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CES: BMW M4 Iconic Lights concept

The i8\'s laser headlights gain new wizardry thanks to integration with driving-assist systems.

BMW is already previewing its vision for future headlights, showcased for the first time on the M4 Iconic Lights concept at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The idea centers around the company's innovative laser-headlight technology, which recently began volume production as an optional upgrade for the i8 hybrid, along with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) for taillights.

Using several blue laser diodes and fluorescent phosphorous filters, the laser headlights are claimed to provide a focused high-beam that illuminates the road out to 650 yards.

Like many modern lighting systems, the Iconic Lights concept actively dims certain areas in the beam pattern to prevent the bright lights from dazzling oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead.

The next-generation system takes the active-headlight idea even further, working in conjunction with infrared cameras and other driving-assist systems. If the vehicle identifies a person or animal on or near the road, the headlights can illuminate the safety threat with a narrow beam of light to serve as an early warning.

When approaching a narrow gap, such as lane merge in a construction zone, the headlights can illuminate two strips of light on the road surface to show the vehicle's estimated track ahead. If the system determines that the driver cannot shoot the gap, the driver will be warned via visual and audio alerts.

The OLED taillights are more of an evolutionary upgraded compared to traditional LED brake- and signal-lights. A large number of individual elements can be configured to present the red and amber lights in various patterns or arrangements.

The company has not yet detailed production plans for the next-generation lighting system. It is unclear if any of the features, particularly the bright-spot illumination for pedestrians and cyclists, will run into any regulatory hurdles for the US market.

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