Audi is set to introduce technology which will allow its US vehicles to communicate with traffic signals.
The German automaker, through its Audi of America, has announced that select 2017 Q7 and A4 models built after June 1, 2016 will be equipped with vehicle-to-infrastructure (V-to-I) technology.
The V-to-I technology allows traffic signals and other infrastructure to exchange safety and other operational data wirelessly to vehicles over the cloud, allowing a more stress-free drive and ride for passengers in what Audi claims is the car industry’s first commercial use of the traffic signal communication technology.
Eventual implementation of this technology could have enormous benefits including to help prevent accidents and reduce the congestion on roads and highways.
How the Audi V-to-I technology will work
The Audi traffic light communication system allows the vehicle to display a countdown before a red light turns to green, with the countdown also appearing on the dashboard if the vehicle determines it will not be able to make an approaching light before it turns red, to allow the driver the time to brake.
While waiting for a red light to turn green, the display will disappear a few seconds before the light turns green, forcing drivers to pay attention to the intersection and road and make them determine when it is safe to proceed.
Audi has been working on the new technology for several years and is currently being tested throughout the world.
A variation of Audi’s technology was proposed earlier this year when a team at MIT and ETH Zurich suggested replacing traffic lights with “slot-based” systems similar to how airplane traffic is managed.
Another similar idea was proposed in 2009, when car enthusiasts at the University of Austin, Texas came up with what they called a “reservation” system; whereby cars would book appointments that allowed them to zoom through intersections.
Audi plans to roll out the “V-to-I” capable cars in five to seven US cities this year, with cities to be switched on one by one.