Audi's new tech makes traffic lights more tolerable
I'm sure at least one or two of you enjoy being stuck in traffic, but the rest of us are searching desperately for any way to spend less time gridlocked, or at the very least, to make the time spent stuck in our cars more tolerable.
Now, for many year V2I or Vehicle to structure communication has been the silver bullet to promise to put an end to traffic once and for all, but it's always been just a few year down the line or off in the future.
Well the future is here today Because Audi has partnered with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada to make the 2017 A4 the first V2I enabled vehicle that you can buy.
That's right, this gray car right here connects directly to the Traffic Management Center behind me to beam real time traffic light information into the dashboard for the driver to use.
How does that work exactly?
Well let's pop behind the wheel, and I'll show you how.
Now the Audi traffic light information system or TLI for short makes use of the 4G LTE data connections as part of Audi Connect which is already present in the A4.
However, the magic happens up in the cloud or the backend where Audi's servers make a direct connection to the traffic management center here in Southern Nevada.
We're testing in Las Vegas specifically.
Now what that does is it dings real time traffic light timing information into the dashboard where combined with GPS and speed data allows the A4 to know which traffic light I'm approaching and how long it's gonna be before that light turns green.
It even with my speed knows whether I'm gonna make a light that I'm approaching or not.
If I'm going to reach a green based on my speed, I don't get anything on my dashboard but, if that light is gonna be red, I start getting a countdown timer.
That allows me to do some interesting things, like maybe ease off a little bit of the gas to save a little bit of fuel on a traffic light that I'm not gonna make anyway.
Now, armed with this countdown information, I know whether this light ahead of me is gonna change in five seconds like this one is.
Or in 125 seconds.
Now, that information means that I can make better decisions about what I do when I'm stopped.
Do I need to stay vigilant because the light's about to change?
Like this one just did, or do I have a little bit of time to Fiddle with the radio or pay attention to a fussy baby in the backseat.
Or maybe just enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas around me.
The information is displayed on the virtual cockpit virtual display ahead of me and on the digital instrument cluster.
So I Have it way ahead of me, and as that countdown timer approaches zero, it disappears at the four second mark.
That's my cue as a driver to stop looking at the instrument cluster and maybe glance back up at the road and re-engage.
I think that's a pretty cool Cool safety feature.
Now the benefits here are twofold.
As a driver, I have better information about the traffic lights that I'm stopped at, which allows me to relax and make better decisions about how I drive, and what I do while stopped.
On the backend though, the traffic management center here in southern Nevada, now has an itemized, real time flow data, directly from vehicles.
That's better more granular information than it's ever had.
Which allows it to better time its traffic lights for example.
The big irony of the traffic light information system is that its [UNKNOWN] connection means in the future I'll probably be using it less often.
That's a win win I'm willing to deal with.
However the coolest thing here is that this real technology in a production car.
On a public road this isn't some coming soon on a closed course demonstration this is actually on the streets of Nevada in a car you can buy today.
The future's generally here right now and that's pretty cool.
Now having that count down to green in the dashboard was actually pretty relaxing and I was able to chill out instead of just staring at the traffic light willing it to change.
But, what I'm most interested in is what's Audi gonna do with this V2I connection going forward.
I mean, now that the connection's in the car, the hard part's been done.
What's the future look like?
Audi could use that connection to, for example, give you better navigation data to get you to where you're going faster or even to suggest what speed you should hit.
To make all of the lights in a certain sequence.
It can even save you fuel by integrating the traffic light information into your auto start system so that it shuts the engine down until just before the traffic light turns green allowing you to save a couple of bucks at the pump.
Audi's traffic light service is available as part of the Audi connect prime suite of services that you'll get on the 2017 A4 and Q7 model.
So odds are if you bought an A4 in the last two or so months it's probably already on your car now.
Go out and have a check.
However for now the service will only work in the southern Nevada region thanks to the partnership between Audi and the RTC Here.
However, as I said, the groundwork is already there.
The standards are being laid, so the hard part is kind of behind us.
So we can expect to see it rolling out in more regions very quickly in the near future.
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