The dream of the “connected car” is already coming to life, with satellite navigation, voice-activated Bluetooth, and now Apple iOS Car Play-integration to be available on a wide range of vehicles—not just luxury cars. Audi is taking connectivity to the next level, with a traffic light recognition system that tells drivers what speed to travel in order to reach the next green light without having to brake.
Audi plans to integrate the Audi Online traffic light information system into its in-car Connect technology. The car would be connected via internet to the central traffic control network in each urban area, and a digital dashboard display would communicate the upcoming light’s status—either green, yellow, or red. Audi Online would then recommend a speed to pass through the next green traffic light without having to stop. If stopped at a red light, the system will display the time until it turns green. It can even automatically alert the start-stop computer to start the engine five seconds before the light changes.
Audi displayed a prototype of the system on an Audi A6 sedan at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Still, we had seen tech like this, such as Honda’s Green Wave system, in the past. Green Wave uses infrared (IR) transmitters to communicate with traffic lights, rather than a wireless internet connection. Like the Audi system, the Honda technology determines a speed to guide you to the next green light without having to brake, which can reduce the frequency of rear-end collisions and promote smoother traffic flow.
Audi says the technology, which is compatible with every Audi model, has the potential to significantly improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent. Understandably, Audi Online traffic light information systems would need to be approved through legislation to have access to government networks and information, but Audi says the technology is otherwise production-ready. Testing is currently underway in Las Vegas, Verona, and Berlin.