If you know in advance, when the red light will switch to green, your driving can be more relaxed, you can save time and without having to step on the break and gas pedals all the time, you can even save on fuel. Car manufacturers therefore are trying to set up a communication network between the vehicles and the traffic infrastrucutre - and Audi is the first among them to actually go ahead with the project. At first, things will start happening in the world's shiniest gaming capital, Las Vegas.
All Audi A4 and Q7 models produced for the U.S. market since June 2016 and those equipped with Audi connect, will feature the new Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology. This interface will allow them to connect to Audi's project partner Traffic Technology Services TTS in order to help optimise the traffic flow. TTS will gather traffic-light data from municipal traffic management centres in larger cities and send via a fast Internet connection, for example 4G/LTE, in real time. After Las Vegas, other major cities are planned to join the network, and with time, Audi also intends to introduce the technology in Europe.
The first function of the Traffic Light Information V2I component is called Time-to-Green that will use the Audi virtual cockpit or head-up display to show information about whether on not the driver will be able to reach the next green light, while still sticking to the permitted speed limit. If the system calculates that this won't be possible, a countdown of the time remaining until the next green phase will commence. Audi's tests have revealed that using the V2I would decrease the number of cars that had to brake to a standstill in traffic fell by around 20 percent. On top of that, this also made fuel savings of about 15 percent and saved time for the driver.
On the other hand, Audi's new V2I system will also help planners of the road infrastrucutre to study traffic flow and to make suitable adaptations of the "green waves" in traffic-light sequences. Traffic Light Information could also be linked up to smart navigation and used for new powering concepts. Hybrid and electric vehicles would be able to make good use of the predictable braking energy by charging the battery as they slowly decelerate at a red light and then use that energy for further zero-emission driving.