Automakers have been teasing us with demonstrations of laser headlights, but don't hold your breath, says a senior executive at Audi.
Wolfgang Huhn, Audi's chief of lighting development, says LED headlights are so promising that there's no pressure to replace them with a new technology such as lasers.
Because lasers can generate a pinpoint of light, engineers could shrink the optics in a headlight to create a very compact package. That would be cool from an engineering point of view. But lasers are not energy efficient and require a cooling system, says Huhn.
So when might lasers be ready for prime time?
"Maybe in 20 years," he says. "Lasers are a nice high-tech device, but it's all marketing."
Of course, Huhn is focused on the Audi A8's new high-beam headlamp, which debuted at the Frankfurt auto show this month. The high beam is generated by 25 LEDs.