In what’s being called an industry first, Audi has launched a feature that will allow its cars to communicate with traffic signals, notifying drivers when lights are about to change. In addition to maybe being useful for dusting AMGs at stoplights, it’s an important advancement in connected cars.
Vehicle to Infrastructure, called V2I, is a term used to reference technology that lets cars send and receive real-time data to and from their surroundings in an aim to improve driving safety and efficiency.
Audi’s new V2I system, called Audi Traffic light information, will allow drivers of certain 2017 Audi Q7s, A4s and A4 allroads learn when lights are about to change colors, ultimately improving traffic flow and fuel economy as drivers adjust their driving styles accordingly.
The way it works is, the car will use an on-board LTE data connection to communicate with cities’ advanced traffic management systems, whose light phase information is relayed via Traffic Technology Services, Inc. servers.
The servers will tell the cars traffic signal information, which will be displayed as a graphic on the cluster and head-up display, ultimately showing how many seconds until traffic signs change colors. Here’s how the cluster graphic looks:
The system will be available on 2017 Q7, A4 and A4 allroads equipped with Audi connect, and built after June 1st. Automotive News says the new tech will likely be rolled out in five to seven cities to start, but will expand later to more areas.
For now, the fuel economy and traffic flow benefit will come entirely from changes to driver behavior, as they let off the gas if they know a traffic light is about to turn red, or release the brakes if they know the light will soon turn green. The less the drivers use their brakes, the more efficient their driving habits.
In addition, it’s designed to help traffic flow. Eventually cities and cars could communicate with each other to find bottlenecks and congested areas, adjusting the flow to keep everyone moving more smoothly.
It’s a common-sense technology that could make for safer and more efficient commutes—well, until vehicle-to-vehicle tech makes traffic signals obsolete.