Audi giving green light to easing daily urban grind

A new hi-tech development sees Audi models see the light to trim down traffic queues.

A new hi-tech development sees Audi models see the light to trim down traffic queues. - Credit: Audi

Audi is ready to add a little oil to the wheels of the daily grind with advanced traffic light recognition technology which could make driving through towns and cities far more fluid and free of annoying and economy-denting red light punctuation.

Audi Online traffic light information harnesses the power of in-car internet in a new way via Audi connect to establish a link between the car and traffic light network via the central traffic computer in each town or city. It quickly assimilates the automated traffic light change sequences in the area and, on the approach to a set of lights, the driver information system (DIS) in the central instrument cluster shows the driver the speed to select in order to pass through the light during a green phase. It also displays a visual aid using red, amber or green icons.

If the driver is already waiting at a red light, Audi connect will count down the time left until the next green light is dud to appear via a timer on the DIS. The system also interacts with the car’s start-stop function to ensure the engine is switched on five seconds before the lights go green.

Audi AG calculates that online traffic light interaction has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15%, and could save about 900 million litres of fuel if it were to be used throughout Germany.

The fully-functional system is now production ready and could be fitted to every Audi in the range subject to the necessary government legislation. It was demonstrated on the busy Las Vegas freeways in an Audi A6 Saloon as part of a trail-blazing technology display at the Consumer Electronics Show, and comprehensive testing continues in Las Vegas with 50 sets of traffic lights. Testing is also under way in Verona, Italy, where some 60 traffic lights covering almost the entire city centre are involved, and Berlin, where 25 Audi customers are driving cars fitted with Online traffic information that can link up to a total of 1,000 traffic lights in the city.