From July, Audi will network new models with the traffic lights in Ingolstadt, Germany, with drivers told what speed is required to catch the next set of lights on green. In theory, it should mean no more red lights and a smoother flow of traffic… assuming you drive an Audi.
Audi says further European cities will follow from next year, although drivers in the U.S. have been using the service since late 2016. The ‘Traffic Light Information’ is available at more than 5,000 American intersections, including 1,000 in the U.S. capital alone.
The system uses Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’ to relay information to the driver. If they will reach the lights on red, a countdown will count the seconds to the next green phase. Used correctly, an Audi driver could travel through an entire city without seeing a red light.
All European A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q7, Q8 and e-tron models produced from mid-July will feature the function, but customers must opt for the required navigation and infotainment package, along with the camera-based traffic sign recognition.
Greater challenges in Europe
Commenting on why the service is arriving in Europe two years later than in North America, Andre Hainzlmaier, head of development of apps, connected services and smart city at Audi, said: “The challenges for the serial introduction of the service are much greater here than, for example, in the USA, where urban traffic light systems were planned over a large area and uniformly.
“In Europe, by contrast, the traffic infrastructure has developed more locally and decentrally – with a great variety of traffic technology.
“How quickly other cities are connected to this technology depends above all on whether data standards and interfaces get established and cities digitalize their traffic lights.”
Audi says the so-called ‘green wave’ technology might be incorporated into the sat-nav to plot the smoothest and most efficient route through an urban area, while it’s conceivable that e-tron models could make increased use of braking energy to charge the batteries.
For non-Audi drivers, the message is simple: follow a suitably-equipped Audi through an urban area if you’re hoping to avoid delays.