Audi is set to become the first automaker with vehicle-to-object (V2X) communication technology available in its cars.
V2X enables cars to communicate with surrounding infrastructure and is a fundamental element towards the implementation of fully autonomous cars.
In some Audi models going on sale this fall, there will be a feature that communicates with traffic lights to gather information on when the lights are due to switch from red to green. A countdown is displayed in the instrument cluster or, when fitted, in the head-up display.
The feature will only work in cities where traffic light information is made available. The information is made available to a provider called Traffic Technology Services which then routes it to an Audi database. This database then sends the information to the vehicle, all in real time.
The feature, which has the unimaginative name of Traffic Light Information, will be available on 2017 A4, A4 Allroad and Q7 models built after June 1, 2016 and fitted with Audi Connect. We could certainly see it proving handy on manual-equipped cars, as the driver will be able to press the clutch and select the gear before the lights turn green, helping to speed up traffic flow.
Eventually, automakers will be able to use V2X and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication to offer much more comprehensive features including crash avoidance. The technology could even lead to a world where cars no longer need to stop at intersections.
“[Traffic Light Information] represents Audi’s first step in vehicle-to-infrastructure integration,” Audi’s head of connected vehicles, Pom Malhotra, said in a statement. “In the future we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, start/stop functionality and can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities.”