Auto Tech

Cadillac experiments with tech that can talk to traffic lights

The system can warn a driver when it may encounter an issue with red-light timing.

Cadillac

Cadillac already has vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications installed on its latest CTS luxury sedan. But soon its cars will talk to more than just one another.

Cadillac is currently developing a vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system, so its vehicles will be able to receive messages from local infrastructure. Right now, it's limited to two traffic lights outside GM's Warren Technical Center in Michigan. The work is being done in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Macomb County Department of Roads.

It might look a little primitive on the infotainment screen, but bear in mind it's still under development.

Cadillac

In short, the traffic lights can tell when a vehicle might have an issue with a stoplight based on its current speed. If you've ever had a yellow light pop up that forced you to either slam on the brakes or jam on the gas, that's what this is trying to prevent. A warning will let the driver know ahead of time to either begin slowing down or speed up a bit, which could very well prevent an accident before it happens.

Of course, sending and receiving data like this could be a privacy concern, but Cadillac assures it won't be a problem. The data being sent doesn't identify the vehicle in any way, whether it's the car's VIN or its registration number. Cadillac also claims the wireless signals cannot be interfered with, thanks to the encryption it uses.

Cadillac already has its V2V system installed in the 2017 CTS sedan. Using GPS and dedicated short-range communications, vehicles can send and receive messages from other cars up to 1,000 feet away. It can let you know when highway traffic comes to a stop, or if a nearby car ends up in a collision.

Other automakers are also dabbling in V2I technology. Audi has its Traffic Light Information system, which can tell drivers when a light is about to turn green, so that a driver can be paying full attention when that happens. It's only in use in Nevada for now, but it's likely to roll out to other markets as transportation authorities embrace this kind of fledgling tech.