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 the traffic light network via the central traffic computer in each town or city. It quickly assimilates the automated traffic light change sequences in the vicinity, and on the approach to a set of lights the Driver Information System (DIS) located in the central instrument cluster then 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 calculate and count down the time remaining until the next green light is scheduled 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 green phase.
Audi AG calculates that Online traffic light interaction has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 per cent, and could save approximately 900 million litres of fuel if it were to be deployed throughout Germany.
The fully functional system is now production ready and could be fitted to every Audi model in the range subject to the necessary government legislation. It was actively demonstrated recently on the busy Las Vegas freeways in an Audi A6 Saloon as part of a trailblazing technology display at the Consumer Electronics Show, and comprehensive testing continues in Las Vegas with 50 sets of traffic lights. Testing is also underway in the northern Italian city of Verona, where some 60 traffic lights covering almost the entire city centre are involved, and in 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. A market launch is currently the subject of intense analysis in the United States.
Online traffic light information shared the stage with a host of technological advances from the Vorsprung durch Technik brand at this year’s CES, which represented the next phase in seamless connectivity between Audi models, their drivers and the rest of the digital world. Significant developments in Audi piloted parking and driving were demonstrated, with the central focus on an Audi A7 Sportback that can drive fully autonomously in moving traffic. Another immersive innovation is the Audi Smart Display, an Android-based tablet that allows users to interact with in-car controls yet can also be used as a standalone portable device in the home or on the move.
The Sport quattro laserlight concept also revealed the next generation of Audi lighting. The high-beam laser light unit can illuminate the road by up to 500 metres and will debut on the R18 e-tron quattro sports prototype at Le Mans in June.