Audi is developing its own autonomous car technology with one very smart extra – the car will tell you when traffic lights change.
Although it could be more of a distraction than anything (or rather, is encouraging drivers to be distracted by doing things like checking their phone while waiting at the lights), it’s a proof of concept that marks the first time the vehicle-to infrastructure (V2I) communication channel has been used.
V2I is a two-way communication system that uses city structures like traffic lights to relay information. It will tell a car when the traffic lights are about to turn green, or red for example, which would give drivers a head start to rev their engines or press the brake.
It’ll show as a countdown timer behind the steering wheel on Audi’s A4, Q7, and A4 allroad models built after June 1, 2016.
There’s a catch though – the technology will only work in Las Vegas at the moment, although Audi is planning to roll the tech out in other cities in 2017. It hasn’t revealed its roadmap yet, but it’s likely the carmaker will stick to the US for the time being – but we can live in hope it’ll make its way to the UK too.
“The primary benefit right now is to the person driving the Audi,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi America, said on CNBC.
“Where it’s going to lead to is the information can go from the car back to the infrastructure. […] We have good information about traffic flow and highways, but we really don’t have good information on traffic flow in inner cities.”
Audi’s automated car tech is certainly taking a different approach compared to its rivals such as Ford and Volvo or technology powerhouses like Apple and Google, making it easier for drivers to control their cars rather than taking over the controls completely.