Smart traffic lights to 'talk' to cars

Some traffic lights in the US are already equipped with the technology needed for Audi's system to work, but in the UK there is still some catching up to do.

Judging when green traffic lights are going to switch to red has always been a difficult business. But now Audi has developed a smart-dashboard that can communicate with traffic lights and inform drivers when the lights are about to change.

Dashboards equipped with 'traffic light assist' technology will receive real-time information from a traffic management system that monitors traffic lights. While waiting at a connected traffic light, the dashboard will make the driver aware of the time remaining before the signal flicks to green.

The system makes use of an on board LTE data connection, a high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals, which talks to Audi's servers. The company is currently in the process of linking these to smart city servers.

The development is yet another example of the increasing interconnectivity of city streets. With smart streetlights that are able to adjust to the movement of cars and pedestrians and inbuilt street light sensors that are able to communicate with cars, it is no doubt only a matter of time before street lights will be able to communicate more detailed messages, such as the amount of car parking spaces available on a particular road.

The new Audi cars will be able to communicate with smart traffic lights already installed in the US. In the UK drivers will have to wait a little longer for the road infrastructure to catch up.

'This feature represents Audi's first step in vehicle-to-infrastructure integration,' said Pom Malhotra, general manager at  Audi's connected vehicles division.

New smart-traffic light technology could lead to better overall efficiency and shorter commuting times in the future.

Pom Malhotra - general manager at  Audi's connected vehicles division.

'In the future we could envision this technology being integrated into vehicle navigation, start/stop functionality and it can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities. 

'These improvements could lead to better overall efficiency and shorter commuting times.'

Audi will begin to roll out the new traffic light information as part of its suite of Audi connect PRIME services later this year in select smart US cities and metropolitan areas.

 

 

 

  • Smart cities will be discussed in the IOT Arena at this year's Lux Live.  The exhibition will be held from Wednesday 23 November to Thursday 24 November 2016. The Arena will explore developments in connected lighting and its role in the Internet of Things. Click here to register.