New Audi technology connects cars to traffic light network

Audi equipped with Traffic Light Information service driving in Las Vegas

Audi has become the first car manufacturer to launch vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology in the US, demonstrating its Traffic Light Information service in Las Vegas last week.

V2I technology allows for communication between vehicles and nearby infrastructure. Audi’s Traffic Light Information service harnesses this technology to monitor nearby traffic lights, providing a dashboard countdown to show when the lights will turn green.

The service uses an on-board 4G LTE data connection, providing Audi’s vehicles with real-time signal information from the advanced traffic management system that monitors traffic lights. 

The ‘time-to-green’ feature is the first to leverage Audi’s Traffic Light Information service. However, the company believes that it may also be possible to use V2I technology in other ways, such as using navigation systems to optimise routing, or suggesting a speed that will allow a driver to maximise the number of green lights on a journey.

Audi of America President Scott Keogh said: “The launch of this technology is another in a long list of firsts for Audi that have positioned us as the industry leader in connectivity solutions. 

“V2I applications and services like Traffic Light Information are essential components as we continue to move toward an autonomous future. 

“We applaud the innovative approach of Las Vegas in working with us on V2I as well as on our various piloted driving demonstrations over the past years.”

Tina Quigley, General Manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, said: “This vehicle-to-infrastructure technology will help reduce congestion and enhance mobility on our already crowded roadways.

“Beyond the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, Southern Nevada continues to lead the way in transportation technology creating smart cities and communities for our residents and visitors.”

Audi is working with a number of additional cities in the US to prepare their infrastructure for V2I connectivity and expand the Traffic Light Information service, on which it has partnered with Traffic Technology Services.

In future, says Audi, cities will be able to use connected infrastructure technology to better understand traffic patterns and adapt signal behaviour to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.

Video explaining what Audi's Traffic Light Information service is and how it works.

DriverlessGuru commentary

Audi’s traffic light countdown service highlights potential of V2I technology

The public introduction of one of the first examples of vehicle-to-infrastructure technology is an important milestone in the development and introduction of fully autonomous vehicles.

Audi’s new Traffic Light Information service focuses on a specific driver assistance task. But this public demonstration of how vehicles and infrastructure will increasingly be able to communicate will raise awareness of what is possible in a connected, autonomous environment.

For example, when driverless cars can communicate with traffic signals and city infrastructure, it will be possible to better manage traffic flows, reduce congestion and improve journey planning and routing.

A related technology – vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) – will allow vehicles to communicate with each other. V2V communications offer significant safety improvements – for example, by alerting other road users when a vehicle is about to carry out a manoeuvre such as changing lane, overtaking, or braking in an emergency.

V2V communications also promise to increase road efficiency by allowing vehicles to travel closer together.