New light on motoring

German car manufacturer Audi will be offering energy-efficient LED headlamp technology on its latest model, the V10-powered Audi R8.

Audi claims that this is the first car in the world to offer all-LED headlamps as standard. The high-intensity diodes are used for low-beam and high-beam settings, plus indicators and daytime lights. The interior light package includes LED footwell lighting, light and rain sensors and LED engine compartment lighting.

LED and xenon headlights are said to be four times more energy efficient than conventional halogen headlights. Similarly, LEDs are attractive as they react up to 10 times more quickly than traditional incandescent bulbs. Audi believes that by 2018, LED technology will be around eight times more efficient than halogen lighting.

Dr Wolfgang Huhn, head of the Light and Visibility Department at Audi, said: ‘A lot of people initially viewed this development as a mere marketing gimmick. Yet everyone who has seen these lights in action is not only astonished by the excellent output but also thrilled with the homogenous distribution of light and the agreeable, daylight-esque colour of the light.’

New regulations implemented by the European Union in 2011 will require cars to use daytime running lights. Audi expects that in the future the use of LED technology will not only improve energy efficiency but also have the ability to react to weather conditions, speed, the distance between vehicles, and potentially dangerous objects.

Dr Huhn added: ‘We are striving to create intelligent headlights and tail-lights that think and anticipate in the interest of enhancing a driver’s safety and comfort.

‘For example, there are already high-beam headlights in pre-series development that will allow drivers to navigate roads at night without temporarily blinding oncoming drivers.

‘This is made possible by a variable distribution of light; an electronic system continuously calculates the distance to any approaching vehicles to ensure that the road ahead is ideally illuminated at all times – without irritating oncoming drivers.’