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Save Fuel and Avoid Red Lights with Audi’s Traffic Light Software

March 12, 2014

Drivers do not like wasting fuel and spending too much time at red lights. With Audi’s latest car tech offering, drivers won’t have to. The German automaker recently introduced their traffic light software at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it is designed to allow motorists to save fuel and enjoy an uninterrupted drive as well.

In the past, drivers boosted fuel efficiency by checking stoplights from afar and moving the vehicle towards the light shortly before it turns green and coasting along when it does. Because the driver does not need to step on the brakes, and thus the vehicle does not come to a complete stop, a considerable amount of fuel is saved. Audi now offers a better way to improve fuel efficiency and it does not require the driver to have excellent vision.

The luxury automaker unveiled the Audi Online traffic light recognition system, which will not only enable drivers to use up less gas, but also anticipate traffic light changes. The software functions by bringing data about patterns and timing from the city’s central traffic control network to the vehicle via the Internet. The information will then be relayed to the driver through the Driver Information Display. Through the digital dashboard display, the driver will find out what the upcoming traffic light will be—red, yellow, or green. Audi Online will then suggest a specific speed that will allow the driver to coast along the next green light without stopping.

When at a red light, the display will tell the duration of time before the light becomes green. When moving, the system will determine if the car can make it to the green light. If the car would not be able to make it, the system will advise the driver to begin braking so the vehicle will not be stopped abruptly.

If Audi Online is used in a vehicle equipped with a stop-start system (that which saves fuel by shutting off the engine whenever the car stops), the system will instruct the stop-start computer to turn on the engine five seconds prior to the changing of the light.

If Audi Online does not seem impressive enough, here is something that makes it more remarkable: Audi claims that its Online system can lower CO2 emissions, and as much as 15 percent too.

The Audi Online, which was exhibited on an Audi A6, was a prototype. Pilot programs have started in Las Vegas, as well as Verona and Berlin. While testing is underway, Audi says the software is production ready. The automaker is conducting an ‘intense analysis’ of the technology’s launch in the United States, as it awaits government approval for the access to traffic information and networks.

The Audi Online traffic light recognition system is new, though not particularly unique. Honda came out with a similar technology in the form of the Green Wave system in 2012. The Green Wave also allows the car to get signals from traffic lights and lets the driver know the speed with which he/she can reach the next green light. Unlike Audi Online, Honda’s technology makes use of infrared transmitters instead of Wi-Fi to receive traffic data.

Photo credit: Ruthanne Reid/ Flickr/ CC BY

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