Claiming that any part on a car needed approval from the FDA to be sold in the United States seems a bit weird. What does the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have to do with selling cars? Well, it turns out that the FDA did need to approve the laser headlights used on the new Audi R8 V10 Plus in America.
The reason for that oddity is because of the ever-so-slight amounts of radiation that come from the laser lights. While the lights are typically harmless, staring into them for long periods of time can actually be dangerous. That’s why they only activate over 40 mph and deactivate whenever the car detects oncoming traffic. But it’s because of this minute radiation that the FDA must approve them because it must approve all things that produce radiation.
“Hazard increases when viewed directly for long periods of time. Hazard increases if viewed with optical aids.” is what reads on the light assembly.
Now, there isn’t actually a laser being directed onto the road or even out of the headlight. Instead, the laser is fired into a piece of phosphor directly in front of the laser, and inside the assembly, that illuminates dramatically. That light is then filtered and corrected to 5,550k, which is about the same as daylight sun. The idea is to create much brighter but also much cleaner light. It works brilliantly and we love that Audi is bringing these laser high-beams to the ‘States. They just need to pass by the FDA first.