Audi this week announced that it is extending its Traffic Light Information service to Europe, starting in its home city of Ingolstadt in Germany.
The vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service will link new models to the traffic lights in the city, providing a countdown to the next green phase and suggesting the best speed at which to reach the next traffic light on green. The service was first introduced in the US in 2016, and will be extended to other European cities from 2020.
“Stop-and-go traffic in cities is annoying. By contrast, we are pleased when we have a “green wave” – but we catch them far too seldom, unfortunately. With the Traffic Light Information function, drivers are more in control. They drive more efficiently and are more relaxed because they know 250 meters ahead of a traffic light whether they will catch it on green,” said Andre Hainzlmaier, Audi’s head of Development of Apps, Connected Services and Smart City.
While the service is available at more than 5,000 intersections in US cities, it has taken longer to introduce to Europe because of the localised nature of the continent’s traffic infrastructure, according to Audi.
“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,” said Hainzlmaier.
The company is working with Traffic Technology Services on the project, which prepares the raw data from city traffic management centres and transmits this to Audi’s servers, from where it is transmitted to the car via a fast Internet connection.
According to the carmaker, V2I technology will one day allow traffic lights to respond to the flow of traffic. “In the future, anonymized data from our cars can help to switch traffic lights in cities to better phases and to optimize the traffic flow,” said Hainzlmaier.
Audi also believes V2I technologies will facilitate automated driving. “A city is one of the most complex environments for an autonomous car. Nevertheless, the vehicle has to be able to handle the situation, even in rain and snow. Data exchange with the traffic infrastructure can be highly relevant here,” said Hainzlmaier.