Imagine never having to stop for a red light again – Audi’s upcoming traffic light information system won’t get you all the way there, but it will help you stop with the guesswork around when a light is going to change from red to green.
The feature will provide a countdown of exactly when a traffic light will switch from stop to go, starting a few seconds before the change, based on data provided by city infrastructure. That means it’s limited to cities where such services are available, which includes a few major metropolitan areas I the U.S. currently. The Audi system gets its data from Traffic Technology Services, an info provider that connects the dots between city infrastructure and connected vehicles.
It’s also limited in terms of vehicles affected, with 2017 models including the Audi Q7, A4 and A4 all road with firm levels that include Audi connect being the only ones that can take advantage of the feature. Plus, it’s a pay service rolled into the Connect Prime subscription offering Audi provides. But despite its limited scope and scale, it is indeed an industry first, and one that will hopefully pave the way for deeper future integrations between smart city infrastructure and connected cars.
Similar solutions are available as third-party apps for your smartphone, including EnLighten, an app that sounds audible alerts when a traffic light is about to change. Audi’s system sounds like it might be more closely tied to official city traffic light servers, however.
Audi and EnLighten offer similar motivation for making traffic light advance warning info available to drivers: to diminish driver stress. I’m still curious to see how this performs as a directly integrated OEM offering on cars, in terms of alleviating distractions and stress.