German carmaker Audi is in the process of rolling out technology that will allow its cars to communicate with traffic lights. The technology, known as Vehicle to Infrastructure (V-to-I) displays a countdown before a red light turns to green, and also displays a countdown when it is too late to get through an approaching signal before it turns red.
Pom Malhotra, general manager of Audi’s connected vehicles division said “This is our foray into V-to-I. This is designed not as a safety feature but a comfort and convenience feature.”
Malhotra also explained that the display would disappear a few seconds before the traffic light turned green in order to allow drivers to concentrate on the intersection.
Audi of America, owned by Volkswagen, claimed that the technology will be installed in select 2017 Q7 and A4 models built after 1st June 2016. Company executives hinted that future versions of the system could be linked to a car’s navigation system or its stop/start functions. Traffic signals could also advise a vehicle to keep to a certain speed in order to match the flow of lights.
This announcement follows the news that carmakers are working on introducing vehicle to vehicle communications (V-to-V) which would allow cars to ‘talk’ to each other in a move to reduce traffic accidents and relieve road congestion.
Manufacturers are attempting to move towards greater automation on the road. Recent advances in technology have led to the creation of driverless cars, with Audi trialling a prototype of their driver-free car ‘Jack’ earlier this year.
Audi has said that it will be initially rolling out its V-to-I technology fitted models in five to seven cities in the US, with cities to be switched on one at a time. The company was not willing to disclose which cities had been selected.