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CES 2014: Meet Audi's concept car with laser lights

With self-driving cars expected to be on the road in the next decade or so, what other technology can engineers pack into the average vehicle? How about lasers?

Audi announced this week that the concept car it plans to show off at CES this week includes "laser-light headlights." But don't get too excited; these lasers won't help you blast rocks like the Curiosity rover. They will simply help you navigate the road better in dark driving conditions.

Inside the dual headlights of the plug-in hybrid Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept car will be a combination of matrix LED and laser light technology.

"Two low-profile trapezoidal elements are visible within the headlights – the outer one generates the low beam light using matrix LEDs and an aperture mask, while the inner element produces laser light for high-beam functionality," Audi said.

The laser light diodes are much smaller than the LED ones, Audi said, and can illuminate the road ahead for about 1,640 feet. "The laser high-beam light has approximately twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high beam lights," Audi said.

BMW is also experimenting with laser headlights for its i8 plug-in hybrid, according to Digital Trends.

Inside the car, the high-res TFT display is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 30 processor, which supports 3D graphics. Drivers can customise their view - from navigation maps and media lists to the more traditional speedometer. Control everything with a rotary push-button in the centre console, which also serves as a touch screen. Audi promised an intuitive layout similar to a smartphone.

Expect more from Audi this week at CES. Audi chairman Rupert Stadler will give a keynote speech from Las Vegas at 8:30 p.m. PT on Monday night, where he will discuss the carmaker's latest innovations.

For up to date info on all things CES, check out our live blog from the ground in Las Vegas.