The 2017 DVN (Driving Vision News) USA workshop was held north of Detroit in Rochester, MI from January 10-11 with a central theme of “Future Lighting Technologies and Standardization, Safety and regulatory Affairs”.
Driving Vision News is an international organization focusing on delivering OEM-level news, collaboration and education for the automotive lighting and driver assistance worldwide market. This 2-day conference featured speakers, panels, exhibitors and visitors from such prestigious companies as Lumileds, Nichia, Osram, JW Speaker, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Sea Link, Hella, Morimoto, Varroc, Renault, and more!
There has been a lot of buzz in the aftermarket headlight enthusiast community surrounding this new take on laser lighting technology presented by the team at Morimoto. Many enthusiasts are waiting to see it for sale on the www.MorimotoHID.com home page to snatch up what they see as the next evolution in their own personal automotive project. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily ever going to happen… Morimoto explains that the reason for developing a D2S style replacement “bulb” based on laser technology was to prove the concept. They are showcasing this disruptive technology at DVN to highlight their ability to think outside the box and begin making a name for themselves as a Tier 1 supplier. Morimoto went to DVN with hopes to partner up with another group who could make use of the technology in OE Applications, and indeed there was serious interest from a number of big players who were also in attendance. They go on to explain what makes the Morimoto laser “bulb” different than other laser headlights on the road today.
“We came up with the laser concept originally because the automotive lighting world right now is so focused on new technologies and ways to apply them. From the manufacturer’s side when BMW is selling a new car they spend a lot of time telling you that they have laser-based headlights. But the fact is that the laser headlights that are being utilized in those cars right now behind the scenes more or less they work the same way as all of the LED headlights. The laser shines onto a phosphorous plate that then reflects in one direction onto a mirror and then onto the road… ” -Matt Kossoff, Owner/President at Morimoto.
This technology truly does set Morimoto apart from what is now considered a traditional laser headlight because fundamentally it is a different system than what else is being used. The Morimoto laser prototype is being described as a “point lighting system” meaning the laser shines into the bulb from the back and excites a specially manufactured tube lined with phosphor, which then creates the light source in all different directions, similar to a traditional light bulb. The difference here is that with an appropriately designed laser system you can create more light with far less energy. The amount of light required for the OEM production is scalable to any power level inside the same “bulb” footprint. This modular, scalable design is unlike anything else on the market today.
“This layout works for the entire beam, not just high beam like all the others. This layout allows the laser to come in as a straight beam to eventually end up as something that’s radiated in a full 360-degree light source point, we call this point lighting where everyone else is using reflectors to control the beam in a pencil beam pattern.” – Nate Brick, Morimoto
This laser bulb technology is designed as a way to showcase it’s potential but the true intended purpose of this development and display is to encourage it’s way into the hands of a world class manufacturer to be used in large-scale vehicle production. The laser “bulbs” would be utilized in a similar way that LED modules are currently used in headlights but with potential for higher efficacy and greater potential for small-package light output scalability.