Sitting at a stoplight and waiting what seems like an eternity for it to change. What a drag.
Audi understands. Some of its newest models are equipped with a Traffic Light Information system that displays how long it will take a red light to turn green on the vehicle’s dashboard. Washington, D.C. became the most recent city in which this system works, joining Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Palo Alto.
But in the end, this system isn’t really for human drivers. It’s for autonomous vehicles.
The system is called Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I). Using 4G, the car connects to the area’s centralized traffic light management system to access information that could, for example, help navigation systems determine the most efficient route, or slow vehicles down when a light is about to change, as The Verge reports.
“This initiative represents the kind of innovation that is critical for us to advance the traffic safety goals of Vision Zero,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press release. “We look forward to building on this and similar partnerships as we continue to build a safer, stronger, and smarter DC.” The partnership with Audi will also help the city to identify areas ripe for traffic improvement.
If people are going to move around stoplight-free cities in AVs, improving systems that allow the cars to talk to the infrastructure, and to each other, will be critical. Cars like Audi’s could go a long way towards bridging the gap between our past of traditional vehicles and our future of AVs.
The idea that your car can understand traffic light patterns still seems far-fetched as we’re still trying to grapple with limited self-driving technology. But Audi has been gradually releasing its Traffic Light Information system around the US over the last couple of years, and it’s finally reached the nation’s capital.
Audi said Wednesday it’s expanding its Traffic Light Information system to Washington, DC, making it the seventh US area to accept the technology. In short, the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) system on some 2017 and 2018 Audi models can receive information from a centralized traffic light management system on how much time before a red light turns to green through the car’s built-in 4G LTE hotspot.
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