In Brief
  • The cars communicate with Las Vegas' traffic light management system through 4G LTE mobile data and then display a countdown letting drivers know when a light will turn green.
  • Audi claims the system is the first commercial example of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology in the U.S., and it could greatly decrease travel and idling times for drivers.

Smart cars are getting smarter, and in one of the latest developments, Audi is making its cars more responsive to their surroundings through its Traffic Light Information feature.

The car manufacturer’s A4 and Q7 models can now tell drivers in Las Vegas how many seconds they have until a stoplight switches color. A countdown appears on the car’s dashboard or heads-up display, and right before the light switches from red to green, the countdown shuts off so the user can focus on driving.

The vehicle’s operating system gets the information by communicating with the Las Vegas traffic light management system through 4G LTE mobile data using a tech developed by Audi’s partner company Traffic Technology Services (TTS).

Audi
Audi

According to Audi, this is the first commercial example of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology in the U.S. Simply put, this is the first car that can communicate with surrounding systems. Studies from road traffic research startup Surtrac have shown in pilot tests that intelligent traffic management systems can cut travel time by 25 percent and idling time by over 40 percent, so the system could help people get where they want to go more quickly without compromising safety.

This tech is expected to lead to vehicle-to-vehicle interactions, as well, and the implications for self-driving cars is staggering. Autonomous vehicles aim to be safer than cars driven by humans, with the ultimate goal of perfecting road safety. Enabling these cars to talk to each other and their surrounding infrastructures in real time would lead to the safest traffic network imaginable.