How much your driving style would change if you knew how traffic lights are going to change before approaching them? You would adjust your speed accordingly, trying to avoid full stops. Now Audi became the first automobile brand to connect the car to the city infrastructure. Now Audi A4 and Q7 models in Las Vegas can display traffic-light phases directly in the car.
This is the first implementation of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) service by an automobile brand. Audi is hoping to expand this technology even further, so soon cars in other US cities as well as in Europe will be able to display changing traffic lights. This should make traffic more efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly, but the ultimate goal is to incorporate this system into autonomous driving technology. The system itself is very interesting.
New Audi A4 and Q7 models produced for the U.S. market will be included in this network. Municipal traffic management centres in US cities will send the traffic-light data to the on-board computer in the Audi. 4G/LTE or other fast internet connection is going to be used for reliable data transferring. Drivers will see, if they will reach the next traffic lights in a good time. If not, they will be provided with a countdown, which will allow them to decide, whether to slow down a little or to come to traffic lights and then stop.
Michael Zweck, project manager for Audi Traffic Light Information, said: “In our tests the number of cars that had to brake to a standstill in traffic fell by around 20 %. This saved time for the driver and also made fuel savings of about 15 % in the pilot project”.
Drivers of other cars will benefit too, because there will be investments into smarter traffic lights systems. In the future, this system may be connected to car’s GPS too, which would further enhance efficiency and shorten duration of the travel time. In Europe, however, Audi is facing bigger difficulties, as there is no standard traffic light system. This is why US has been chosen to launch the system, but Audi is certain that with time cars will be able to deal with European traffic lights as well.
Autonomous cars are coming quickly. But before they start dominating our streets, real drivers need some technological assistance too. Audi’s Traffic Light Information will make city traffic more efficient and friendlier for the environment, which is exactly what people are looking for the commuting in the city.