Lasers can throw light about four times farther than LED headlights and are up to 1,000 times brighter. They are also smaller, more efficient and draw less power. Our federal government might be beginning to see the light on lasers, pardon the pun, and the future looks, er, bright. A new company called SLD Laser is making advancements with the devices, including automotive applications, with its laser headlights used in desert racing and other applications. At CES, SLD announced that its lasers can be used for high-resolution sensing and ultra-high-speed LiFi communication technologies for automotive and consumer applications. Basically they can replace radar for range finding and depth sensing, allowing dramatically simplified 3D imaging and LiDAR systems, the company claims. It uses laser to help your car “see” the road ahead, and any obstacles that might be lurking out there.
In the consumer world right now, SLD laser lights for off-road use are available through Baja Designs. To show how cool they are, we met SLD out in the desert north of Las Vegas, around where the Mint 400 sometimes runs, and got a lap in Desert racer Justin Lofton’s SLD Laser-equipped pre-runner. The laser in the grille seemed like it could have lit up Vegas 20 miles away. Maybe we should all send letters to NHTSA and say, “ I want my… I want my… I want my laser lights!”