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New Audis can now talk to traffic lights

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 12, 2016
Audi's "time-to-green" traffic light is only the first feature to leverage vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) electronic communications

The DOT, along with its state and local counterparts, is evaluating uses that integrate infrastructure and vehicle data to provide more robust and reliable alerts and warnings to drivers. Some of these applications include:

  • Red Light Violation Warning: Based on vehicle speeds and distances to intersections, this technology provides in-vehicle alerts to drivers about potential violations of upcoming red lights.
  • Curve Speed Warning: If a driver’s current speed is unsafe for traveling through an upcoming road curve, this technology will alert the motorist to slow down.
  • Pedestrian in Signalized Crosswalk Warning: Warns a bus driver if pedestrians are in the intended path of the bus when making a right or left turn. The application provides two levels of warning to the driver—a cautionary indicator if the crosswalk button is activated and an imminent warning if a pedestrian is actually detected in the crosswalk.

The current traffic light technology allows new Audis to receive real-time signal data from the advanced traffic management system that monitors traffic lights via the on-board 4G LTE data connection.

Audi made the announcement in Las Vegas -- the first city where it will be enabled -- because the municipality has been rolling out Internet of Things (IoT) technology that includes a wirelessly connected traffic signal network.

"The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is proud to be the first in the nation to connect our traffic signal network to vehicles through our collaboration with Audi," RTC General Manager Tina Quigley said in a statement. "This vehicle-to-infrastructure technology will help reduce congestion and enhance mobility on our already crowded roadways."

Audi said the V2I infrastructure will expand to additional cities across the U.S. and the carmaker has partnered with Traffic Technology Services (TTS) to facilitate the transfer of traffic light data to Audi vehicles.

"In the future, it may be possible to integrate information from these advanced traffic management systems into vehicle start/stop features, navigation systems to optimize routing, and predictive services such as presenting the driver with a speed recommendation designed to maximize the number of green lights one can make in sequence," Audi stated in a statement. "All of these services would be designed to either improve efficiency, drive time or traffic management."

The DOT does not require the more than 330,000 traffic signals in the U.S. to have internet connectivity, but cities are deploying the technology as part of the agency's  national Connected Vehicle Pilot deployment program.

An annual survey from traffic systems software company Miovision shows that about 48% of municipality respondents' signals are connected, according to ABIResearch analyst Susan Beardslee.

Along with Las Vegas, Audi has tested the new traffic light information service in Palo Alto, Calif. and Washington, D.C., Beardslee said.


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