Awhile back, we learned that Audi was working on something called the Traffic Light Information system. In a nutshell, this system will allow Audis to communicate with traffic lights to alert the driver of upcoming changes. So, if a light is about to turn red, it will alert the driver to stop. While at red lights, it will tell the driver how long before it turns green. Stuff like that.
This sort of car-to-everything connectivity is kind of scary in a sense that more and more cars will be connected to networks of some kind, but it can make life easier. In the sense of TFI (Traffic Light Information), it’s apparently of the latter kind of connectivity.
According to CNET’s Roadshow, Audi’s TFI allows drivers to navigate traffic lights with far less stress. Not that traffic lights are stressful, but it made driving through city streets far easier because, with the system, you know what’s going to happen in the future, as opposed to just reacting to it.
Antuan Goodwin of CNET was able to test this system out in Las Vegas, currently the only place it works as Audi has teamed up with Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada for testing. On the new Audi A4, Goodwin was able to drive through the famous Las Vegas Strip knowing exactly which lights were going to turn and when. The system works by connecting the car to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s systesms via the car’s 4G LTE connection. It also uses the car’s navigation system to work out which light it’s nearest and how fast the car is going, so as to warn the driver accurately.
The system works by displaying a traffic light symbol in the Virtual Cockpit or HUD or both. With this system, the TFI warns the driver of upcoming red lights and, if the light is already red, how much longer until it turns green. So, if the traffic light is yellow, the TFI warning will come up if the driver isn’t going fast enough to make it through. This allows the driver to eliminate guess work and slowly coast to a stop. Once stopped at the red light, a timer will appear, showing the remaining time before the light changes again. This allows the driver to know if they have time enough to mess with the nav screen, radio or anything else in the car. It’s a nice luxury, as opposed to seeing if you can get something done before the light changes.
This sort of car-to-infrastructure connectivity freaks me out a bit, as I’m sort of old-school in that I don’t want to be connected to literally everything. However, this is one of the instances where I feel a connected system could make life just that little bit nicer.