DVN had the great honour to spend some time with BMW's Christian Amann for a long discussion and a night drive. We drove two cars by night: a 2-Series coupé with a new laser beam prototype, and a new 3-Series GT equipped with an SAE-beam ADB system (not yet allowed in the US).
The 2-Series coupé model was launched 3 years ago, with one of the first ADB systems. BMW made a prototype from the current headlamp, adding the laser function. This function uses a new laser with a power of 4W, rather than a trio of 1W lasers as in the i8. The target of the night drive was not to assess the ADB, but to evaluate the performance and potential of new laser systems. In high beam, we could appreciate the long seeing distance without much light close to the car. We found the same feeling about the longitudinal homogeneity and the long seeing range, that we had when we drove the i8 two years ago.
In ADB function, it is difficult to see the benefit of the laser because the current ADB was not adapted to the subsequently implemented laser. The challenge for a serial application of such a high power system will be to make it smoothly integrated without the perception of dancing lights to the driver. All in all, what I retain from this first night drive is the great potential of ADB with laser combined with LEDs and maybe in the future when laser performance will further increase, the possibility to have only the laser beam for ADB.