Thanks to a mid-model-year update, the 2017 Cadillac CTS can now communicate information about its speed and location to other similarly equipped vehicles on the road. The goal is to allow vehicles to warn each other of potential road hazards, giving drivers more time to react to dangerous situations. Now, the sedan is poised to become even more connected as Cadillac is testing CTS mules that can receive critical information from the surrounding infrastructure.
During tests on public roads in Michigan, the development vehicles were able to receive information from traffic signals via Dedicated Short-Range Communications technology. This data alerts vehicles if they are about to run a red light at their current speed. Armed with this knowledge, drivers can hopefully avoid having to make the decision to either brake abruptly or accelerate through the intersection at the last second.
To prevent hacking, a suite of firewalls and other measures have been set up so that rogue third parties can’t tamper with communication signals. Meanwhile, vehicles don’t transmit any sensitive information such as their VIN to the infrastructure. While the traffic signal may keep record of a connected car running a red light, it won’t be able to identify which vehicle ran the light.
The tests took place at traffic lights adjacent to the GM Warren Technical Center campus, now a hotbed for autonomous driving research. To make it possible for vehicles to communicate with the infrastructure, Cadillac partnered with Michigan road agencies including the Michigan Department of Transportation and Macomb County Department of Roads. At this point, it’s unclear when Cadillac will bring such a traffic light communications feature to a production vehicle.
Cadillac isn’t the only automaker to test vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology. Last year, Audi rolled out a new feature that informs drivers of the remaining time they have left to sit at a traffic light with a countdown that shows up on the instrument cluster of certain vehicles. The feature launched in Las Vegas, which was set up with the necessary technology to communicate traffic light information with vehicles, and is set to expand to a host of cities across the country.