A German consortium is developing a "smart headlight" that would require just one LED bulb instead of the array of 25 LEDs required for an Audi A8-style high beam.
The consortium led by Osram Opto Semiconductors has developed a single LED light source that can emit 256 pixels -- each a separate beam of light that can be individually controlled.
The consortium has successfully tested its technology in the laboratory and hopes to have it ready for road tests in 2016.
Project coordinator Stefan Groetsch says the experimental LED is so versatile that it could also be used for a headlight's low beam or even fog lights.
The next step, says Groetsch, is to coax 1,024 pixels out of Osram's new LED. "The whole thing is risky, and it's not clear whether it will fly or not," said Groetsch. "But we think it's manageable."
Groetsch cautions that it's too early to predict success. But Osram has a good track record of commercializing its laboratory breakthroughs.
It was Osram that designed the matrix of LEDs for the Audi A8's high beam, and Osram also developed the laser light source for the BMW i8.