Ever drive through a yellow light, thinking you have enough time to make it through but it ends up turning red before you make it? We’ve all done it. Awkward yellow lights are the worst, you never know if you should accelerate or brake. However, Audi is working on fixing that problem for good.
In the future, Audis are going to be able to communicate with traffic lights, which will inform drivers of the impending light change. If the driver is approaching a green or yellow light, the Audi will be able to communicate with the light to tell the driver how much time until the next change. This will allow the driver to know exactly what to do when approaching, without any guessing game. Also, if a driver is stopped at a red light, the Audi will be able to communicate how much longer until a green light change.
The system works with V-to-I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) interaction. While not all cars and not all city infrastructures are available with this technology, that could change in the near future. At the moment, only new Audi A4 models built after June 1 are capable of V-to-I communication, as well as only some very select cities across the globe. However, Audi will be adding this tech to the Q7 next year.
Audi claims that these functions were not intended as safety functions, but as luxury functions. The four-ringed brand wants its drivers to be calmer and more relaxed. Knowing exactly when traffic lights are going to change will certainly aid in driver relaxation. “This is designed not as a safety feature, but a comfort and convenience feature.” said Pom Malhotra, the general manager of Audi’s connected vehicles division.
As the technology gets better, Audi could even implement technology to tell drivers at which speed to travel so that they sail through as many green lights as possible. This could make trips much faster and stress-free. It could also help someone running late to a meeting. Or, the system could be integrated into the navigation system, so as to give drivers a path with more green lights.
It could also help with autonomous cars in the future. At the moment, even the most autonomous car on the road, the Tesla Model S, cannot recognize traffic lights. So with cars being able to connect and communicate with them, autonomous cars would be far more functional than ever before. The system could even be linked to stop/start systems, so that the car knows when it’s at a red light and shuts the engine off to save fuel. But because it knows when the light is about to turn green, it knows exactly when to start it back up again, making for a seamless restart.
Such a system would take a hefty investment in city infrastructure to work, but it could happen in coming years. With Audi just beginning to roll this technology out, it’s not expected to be widely used just yet. But as more cities get on board and more automakers follow suit, this could really help drivers in the future.
This year, Audi plans on implementing this tech in up to seven major US cities. Audi hasn’t said which cities they might be yet, though. Wait for more info on this tech coming soon.