Laser headlights coming to road-going Audi models … but not to the United States

Newfangled laser headlights have been in the news a lot recently, and they have made quite the splash. Now Audi is following BMW and announcing that it is going from drawing-board and racetrack to showroom… just not in the US.

According to Automotive News, CEO Rupert Stadler said during the Sport Quattro premier at CES, that he wants to bring laser headlights to production. He didn’t say when or which model, but, given that BMW has already decided to feature them on the i8, expect to see them higher up the scale.

Audi’s has already shown off the new technology on a couple of cars you can’t get a hold of without facing jail time: the R18 e-tron Quattro race car and the crazy cool Sport Quattro concept. It’s true that the Sport Quattro might become a production car, and here’s hoping, but Audi might have something a bit more mainstream in mind.  

Unfortunately, don’t expect to see them in the United States anytime soon. The US Department of Transportation hasn’t approved the use of lasers, and they are notoriously slow. Anyone who grew up in the 1980s should remember that American cars were saddled with separated beams long after the rest of the world had moved on to sealed beams.

Things haven’t gotten better since then either. Audi is still trying to get approval for a LED headlight that is already on sale in most other markets.

BMW hasn’t had any more luck with the i8. It may be the first car to feature laser headlights, but it won’t in the US. So if you want to blind your fellow drivers and deer alike with lasers, you are going to have to write your congressional representative and tell them to get on it. 

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