Audi Cars Can currently Tell Their Drivers When Traffic Lights Will Turn Green
At any given moment, 660,000 motorists are glued to their smartphones while driving along American roads.
Serious consequences often result through This kind of behavior–traffic deaths are soaring for the second consecutive year after a long decline. although often, This kind of rampant cellphone use brings more mundane annoyances. Spend 5 minutes driving in any direction, in addition to you’re sure to come across more than one motorist paying rapt attention to the device in his or her hands instead of the road ahead. Nowhere is actually This kind of more infuriating than at traffic lights, when a text-obsessed motorist sits, oblivious to a green light, in addition to foments a backup of surly fellow drivers. In certain Audi vehicles, This kind of is actually no longer a problem, with the introduction of brand new “time to green” technology.
The German car brand launched the brand new feature earlier This kind of month in Las Vegas. that will counts down the time remaining until traffic lights turn green. Displayed on both the instrument cluster in addition to the head-up display, the countdown clock provides real-time wait predictions for drivers interested in remaining attentive behind the wheel.
So far, the feature has very limited distribution. Currently, that will only works at traffic lights in southern Nevada in addition to is actually limited to subscribers to the Audi Connect Prime service, which costs $199 for six months’ worth of access to dozens of connected features. The technology will be available on products of the Audi A4, Q7 in addition to A4 allroad manufactured after June 1, 2016.
– Angela Castro, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
Enough with the qualifiers. Despite the smaller initial audience, the time-to-green feature breaks significant ground.
For the auto industry, the arrival of time to green on production vehicles marks initially a supplier received a has deployed a connected feature using vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology on American roads. One in three cars will ship with connected capabilities inside United States by 2020, according to global automotive research firm SBD. With that will growth will come a proliferation of similar features, as well as technologies that will may eventually be critical to the safe operation of cars.
For Audi, that will is actually the first in a suite of related technologies under development that will will comprise the brand’s Traffic Light Information package. A feature that will gives motorists an optimal speed to maintain to reach upcoming traffic lights while they’re green is actually “around the corner,” according to company executives. Another feature will mesh stop/start technology with real-time traffic-light information to reduce fuel usage.
“that will’s why connected infrastructure is actually so important today,” said Rick Whittemore, manager of Audi of America’s connected-vehicle portfolio, “in addition to that will will be more important inside future.”
On the Ground Floor of Smart Cities
Launching a V2I product requires close collaboration among private industry, local governments, in addition to transportation authorities. In developing the time-to-green technology, Audi engineers in addition to employees at the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada not only laid the technical groundwork for the feature, they sketched a blueprint for how these public-private relationships work.
“This kind of is actually a big deal for us, because we understand that will technology is actually going to disrupt the heck out of transportation,” said Angela Castro, senior director of governmental affairs for the RTC. “in addition to through that will perspective, what does that will mean to our community? that will is actually our role in addition to responsibility to educate elected officials in addition to residents about what’s coming, what’s real, what’s hype, in addition to how do we best prepare.”
Las Vegas already finds itself more prepared than most cities for historical, technical, in addition to political reasons.
in addition to will be more important inside future.”
– Rick Whittemore, Audi Connected Vehicles
Because the city in addition to surrounding area are relatively brand new, so is actually the infrastructure. Engineers can harvest data through 1300 traffic signals, 508 traffic cameras, in addition to 504 freeway-flow detectors. additional cities don’t necessarily have that will capability. As its name suggests, the Regional Transportation Commission’s purview encompasses Las Vegas, Clark County, in addition to a half-dozen municipalities. that will setup allows Audi to work with just one source for the data that will needs. In a region like greater Los Angeles, by comparison, Audi executives said they’d need to partner with more than 110 different municipalities to get enough information to cover the region adequately.
Complications won’t stop Audi through eventually seeking data. although as the brand expands Traffic Light Information in cities beyond Las Vegas–executives say there are discussions underway with roughly a dozen more cities—they’ll first look to places that will are both rich in data in addition to regionally streamlined.
Here’s How that will Works
Cars don’t directly receive traffic-light data through the city. There’s a middle step involved.
Information on the traffic lights’ signal phases is actually transmitted through a regional traffic-control center in Las Vegas to Traffic Technology Services, a private vendor of traffic systems that will uses machine learning to track consistency inside data packets in addition to make projections on wait times. Audi vehicles then receive what amount to highly accurate predictions.
BMW incorporates a traffic-light timer that will works in a similar, although not the same, way. An app called EnLighten receives data through another private vendor, Connected Signals, in addition to sends the data to users who have iOS devices. through those devices, the information can be projected through the phone to the vehicle. that will’s not a true V2I integration like Audi’s, although motorists may not care about the semantic difference.
Signal-phase patterns can be disrupted when pedestrians press crosswalk buttons or emergency vehicles gain priority access to intersections. When these unexpected modifications occur in addition to the system’s confidence in its accuracy falls below a certain threshold, drivers won’t receive a time-to-green countdown. that will’s a smarter way to manage the feature than to provide erroneous numbers that will might erode driver confidence inside system.
In a half-hour test drive along the Las Vegas Strip in addition to over additional main arteries inside city, the system received signal information about 70 percent of the time. At the intersections where a countdown was unavailable, that will was impossible to tell whether its absence was due to a lack of information–Audi says time to green is actually currently functional at roughly roughly 1100 of the 1300 regional intersections—or because the system deemed the available information unreliable.
At the intersections where the countdown occurred, the system worked largely as advertised, with accurate times. When the vehicle first acquired a time-to-green signal, the time might often erratically switch; for example, that will might show 44, 43, 42 seconds, then 64, 63, in addition to 62 seconds. although that will was momentary. Once that will homed in on a time, the countdown might proceed until four seconds remained. At that will point, that will might disappear, because Audi doesn’t want drivers treating time to green as encouragement to stomp on the accelerator early or T-bone any stragglers through the intersection. By stopping the countdown at four seconds, the company wants to prompt drivers to look up in addition to survey the intersection before continuing their journey.
Location is actually determined via a GPS signal. Currently, that will’s not precise enough to figure out whether a car sits in a left-turn lane or is actually proceeding straight. Those intentions are determined onboard in addition to based on whether a driver is actually using the turn signal. Eventually, as cars incorporate brand new sensors for automated features, that will could change.
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that will could spur further smart-traffic features that will are incorporated into navigation systems—in addition to one day help cars offer faster routes to drivers based on the timing of traffic lights. Drivers might benefit; so might cities.
“This kind of is actually a two-way street, in addition to as more Audi vehicles come onto the network, we’re going to get better information to manage coordination in addition to get to a point where we can choose better routes,” Castro said. “When you ask our residents what they think our issues are for mobility, they say, ‘safety, congestion, capacity.’ This kind of is actually going to help us, because that will costs $6 million to build one mile of roadway. We’d rather invest in intelligent infrastructure instead of throwing down more asphalt.”