Ever pulled up to a traffic light that you know should be green, but it stays red and makes you stop? Seat might have the answer. The firm has trialled technology that allows cars to ‘talk’ to traffic lights, using the new Leon in Barcelona. The aim is to improve road safety, traffic flow and fuel-efficiency.
The new tech allows the Leon to let its driver know when a light is going to change colour. On the approach to the traffic lights, the connected Leon was able to alert its driver to whether the light would be red, green or amber when the car arrived. That allowed for better forward planning on the part of the driver.
It does so by recognising the distance from the light and speed the car is travelling, then combining that with real-time traffic data.
“Queuing at traffic lights can be a frustrating process and it always feels like a ‘win’ when you manage to time your driving perfectly for when the lights go green,” said Jordi Caus, head of urban mobility concepts at Seat.
“With this project we’re taking a first step to connect cars with overall traffic infrastructure.
“Seat’s new connected cars receive real-time traffic information from the Traffic Authority’s central cloud, including information displayed on motorway panels or the traffic light status in cities.
“The traffic light sends a signal to the Traffic Authority’s cloud about its current status and when it is going to change.”
The process, known as ‘V2I’ (Vehicle to Infrastructure), allows connected cars to communicate with their environment in just 300 milliseconds.
It also allows authorities to broadcast messages to cars. Imagine such a facility on the UK’s smart motorways, paired with improved stopped vehicle detection.
“It improves safety by providing advanced information about traffic lights turning red depending on your speed and therefore avoids abrupt braking,” Caus continued.
“This trial showcases how Seat is looking at ways to use technology and data over human intuition to improve traffic flow, road safety and fuel efficiency.”