Automotive

Upcoming Audi models will carry a countdown clock for green lights

Upcoming Audi models will carr...
Traffic light information will be offered as a Prime feature of Audi Connect
Traffic light information will be offered as a Prime feature of Audi Connect
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Traffic light information will be offered as a Prime feature of Audi Connect
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Traffic light information will be offered as a Prime feature of Audi Connect
A world with nothing but green lights sure sounds like a world any driver would like to live in
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A world with nothing but green lights sure sounds like a world any driver would like to live in

A world with nothing but green lights sounds like a world any driver would like to live in, but is such a thing even possible? Two years ago, Audi revealed it was working on an in-car system to help drivers hit green lights and though this type of convenience is a while off yet, the first iteration will be built into certain upcoming models to notify drivers of how long they'll be waiting for a red to turn green.

Audi's traffic light information system would work by connecting to a city's infrastructure through LTE and in turn, the central management system that controls traffic lights. With access to this information, the car can calculate the ideal speed to travel at in order to encounter as many greens as possible, hopefully easing congestion, reducing pollution and speeding up traffic in the process.

The first version of Audi's traffic light information system won't quite offer this functionality, but it will talk to municipal traffic systems in the interests of driver stress. It will be available in certain Q7, A4 and A4 allroad models built after June 1, 2016 that are fitted with Audi connect, a subscription service that uses cellular connectivity and GPS for things like navigation, in-car Google voice searching and information on nearby parking spaces.

The traffic light information system appears as a countdown clock on the dash or heads-up display if the car has it, indicating the time remaining until the signal changes over from red to green. This little trick would be priceless in the world of Mariokart, where ramping up acceleration in time with the changing lights can give you a huge turbo boost off the mark, but what good does it do in the real world?

Audi says that it can lead to smoother moving traffic and shorter commuting times, and we guess it would be kind of nice to know what you're in for when you pull up to a red. Do I have time to change the radio station? Address the screaming children in the back seat? Maybe take a sip of that coffee? The Enlighten smartphone app released last year offered the same kind of functionality, but this is the first time we have seen it built right into a car.

The German carmaker does note that this is simply the first step in what is a pretty interesting direction. It claims it will be the first vehicle-to-infrastructure service, whereby vehicles communicate with smart cities to improve traffic flow and navigation, and possibly enable new kinds of autonomous driving functionality. The system will be offered as a Prime feature of Audi Connect, but there's no word yet on whether it will carry an extra cost or be incorporated into an existing package. Audi says it will be rolled out in selected cities and metropolitan areas in the coming months.

Source: Audi

7 comments
Eric the Red
Great now the Audi drivers can scream up to a red light slam on the brakes and know how long they have to update their facebook status.
Bill Bennett
@Eric A$$holes Usually Drive It.i should know I own one.
MQ
I remember seeing the variable speed signs on the roadside in Heidelberg (Germany) nearly 10 years ago which would ensure you only got green lights.... And countdown timers on traffic lights in India notifying drivers of time to the next green light... What stops these technologies becoming more widespread.... Cost? are they just novel experiments.... Then on the M25 etc. variable speeds have been trying to ease congestion for decades, and people always try to go faster, then complain about the congestion... Just as even in Germany drivers are wont to ignore (reduced) roadwork limits... leading to massive congestion... All the tools are available but human self interest usually blocks effective implementation. lol.
Piotr Ra
I have read that countdown timers are being removed as they increased number of people speeding trying to catch green light or running red light after misjudging speed and distance. It might be the case that they seem to be good idea, but after running numbers it turns out it is not.
Bob Flint
Why not just add the full blown Christmas tree red to amber to green countdown for those dragster's...
Eric the Red
I drive an I30 and I am always first off at the lights because I now how they work and watch what is happening. I prefer to drive slowly up to red lights because I know when they are going to change, why stop if I don't have to. All the more fun with an Audi behind me ;)
JustCurious
The trouble with people knowing the light will be red is that they slow down. When they slow down, everyone behind them must slow down as well. This results in fewer people making a previous light and creating a domino effect for all the lights prior to those. This generates MORE cars on the road for a longer length of time and creating MORE traffic overall. The key to less traffic is getting more cars off the road as soon as possible. Traffic lights CREATE more traffic by keeping more cars on the road longer. We have the answer to this: more bridges and more one-way streets. The cost of bridges will be (at least somewhat) offset by the savings of the initial cost, repair, upgrading, and monitoring of traffic lights. We just need the will and a shift away from old ways of thinking to decrease traffic.