FINDING LIGHT IN THE DARK.
Dr. Hanafi is used to being in the dark. He spends his days working alongside his fellow engineers in BMW’s state-of-the-art Light Laboratory: a long, narrow room, tucked away deep in the basement of the BMW Research and Innovation Centre in Munich.
Hanafi is in his element here, among the cables, light diodes and countless technical tools. His fascination with light is clear. “Photons travel at the speed of light, which is around 186,000 miles per second, and the fastest that it’s possible to travel. At this speed and with the properties of light, we could explore the infinite largeness and smallness of the universe.”
But for Dr. Hanafi this isn’t about quantum mechanics. This is the stuff of everyday life. “Light is a part of our lives,” he says, “without it, we wouldn’t be able to see anything.”
Having studied physics in France, he realised he had a particular interest in the research and development of laser technology. “I always got good results for anything that had to do with photonics, quantum mechanics and electro-magnetic radiation”, says Hanafi modestly. It was this passion for lasers that finally brought him to BMW nearly ten years ago.
At BMW he started collaborating with Dr. Helmut Erdl and a small, but continually growing team to develop a very bright white light source based on lasers. The aim was to achieve the highest possible visibility in order to make driving in the dark safer. After years of development, in 2014 the BMW i8 became the first production model to offer BMW Laserlight. A lighting revolution had begun.