Audi has beaten other manufacturers to be the first to connect its cars to the city infrastructure in the U.S. The Traffic Light Information is claimed to be the first true Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) service and is an important step towards autonomous driving.
“For the first time, our cars are exchanging data with traffic infrastructure in real time. Drivers can adapt their behaviour to the situation and move through city traffic in a much more relaxed and controlled way,” says Andreas Reich, head of Electronics Pre-Development at AUDI AG.
“We increase energy efficiency when we connect our Audi models to smart cities.Further V2I services will follow, making the car into an interactive mobile device. We see autonomous driving as the end of this development.”
As a first step, all Audi A4 and Q7 models produced for the U.S. market since June 2016 and equipped with Audi connect have this function on board. In the USA, municipal traffic management centres will communicate the traffic-light data to Audi’s project partner Traffic Technology Service sTTS. Here the data are prepared and sent to the on-board computer in the Audi via a fast Internet connection, for example 4G/LTE, in real time.
The first function of the Traffic Light Information V2I component is called Time-to-Green. In the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display, drivers see whether they will reach the next light on green while travelling within the permitted speed limit. If not, a countdownis provided of the time remaining until the next green phase– and driverscan throttle back in good time. Audi says pilot projects in Europe have shown a 15 per cent fuel savings.
In future Traffic Light Information could be linked up to smart navigation and used for new powering concepts. For example,“green waves” in traffic-light sequences could be incorporated in route planning. It is also conceivable that Audi e-tron models could make greater use of braking energy by charging the battery as they decelerate at a red light.
Audi also intends to introduce the technology in Europe in the near future.