Connected Transport: Audi Cars Link to Traffic Signals

By Lindsey Patterson September 13, 2016

Audi recently announced that it will release their first vehicles equipped with the ability to receive information from traffic lights. The German carmaker hopes that these new cars will be the first step in creating smarter and safer cities. Although this feature may reduce traffic and collisions in big American cities, Audi manufacturers are most concerned with providing their drivers with quality information and convenience.

Which Models and Where?
The particular models that will be equipped with this technology include the 2017 Q7 and A4 models. Audi manufacturers are in talks with local governments and communication companies to open networks in five to seven major American cities. Audi officials, however, did not name the specific cities they were planning on making this technology available in.

Audi only said that it is working with the Traffic Technology Services (TTS) in Oregon to get the information it needs for traffic signal communication. The TTS gathers data from many traffic signal systems across the nation and it can predict when individual lights will change with great precision. Audi's new cars will be able to wirelessly communicate via an Idirect VSAT network with the TTS headquarters to provide drivers with information about local traffic lights in select cities. All of this data is transferred wirelessly over a cloud platform.

No More “Orange Lights”
Drivers will be able to see right on their dashboard if a green light is about to turn red, or how long it will take before a red light changes back to a green light. Audi hopes that this will reduce driver anxiety. This company also hopes this technology will increase safety on the road. This technology will also let the driver know if he/she won't be able to make it through a changing green light.

Audi's new cars are able to retrieve all of this information because they have an LTE data modem inside them. However, Audi has plans to use both dedicated short range communications technology, which is a variant of Wi-Fi, as well as cellular technology in the future. Audi officials admit that this technology is only a first step in communicating with infrastructure, and they hope to enhance the performance of this communications technology as time wears on.

The release of these autos will have huge effects on how the cars of tomorrow communicate with the infrastructure around us. There is great hope that this is only the beginning of various innovations in how cars can communicate with their environment in the future.

Audi has mentioned that it is interested in pursuing vehicle-to-vehicle communications as well. This communications technology will allow cars to talk with each other, hopefully reducing the number of crashes on the road. Innovations in both vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications are still nascent in the automotive industry, but Audi's new cars will be the first step towards bringing the smart city into being.

People interested in this new technology should also know that the countdown function for when a red light will turn green ends at four seconds. Audi designers did this intentionally so that drivers will have to look at the traffic light again before moving forward. Once the four seconds leaves the dashboard, the speed limit appears where the seconds used to be. Audi is planning to showcase the 2017 Q7 SUVs and A4 at events and showrooms this autumn.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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