|Photo Credit: Chris Nagy|
While automotive technology has been opening the door to a both amazing and concerning motoring future where cars will be self-driving through sophisticated algorithms as well as electronic sensors, a more immediate driving reality seems to depend solidly on hands on a steering wheel and a foot on a pedal. However, the common practice of human drivers operating automobiles is by no means a "business as usual" experience.
In the last decades, many cars have introduced electronically-based driving aids meant to provide a driver with more information in making smarter driving decisions. Blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning as well as enhanced hands-free operations for audio and navigation controls can be found in many modern vehicles. On certain 2017 model year Audi models, a new source of information will be relayed to motorists related to the changes in traffic lights.
With the advanced notification of traffic light changes, attentive drivers are given a heightened sense of awareness. Launching in select cities this fall in a real-world testing phase, Audi A4, A4 allroad and Q7 crossover vehicles will be provided with a new countdown timer-style Traffic light information system. Through Audi's on-board 4G/LTE data technology, real-time traffic signal information is transmitted into the car and displayed for the driver in the dashboard message center or on the head-up display system. The indicator appears as a traffic light that includes a numerical countdown beneath.
The system Audi's Traffic light information relies upon is the server belonging to cities and municipalities used to intelligently time light changes. A new method for managing traffic, connected and adaptive signals utilize a traffic flow monitoring system to alter the timing of green and red lights. Requiring considerable infrastructure, smart traffic signal have been slowly introduced into pocket of the United States. One place where the adaptation of connected traffic lights has flourished was in the state of Utah. When Salt Lake City prepared to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2002, roughly 80 percent of Utah's traffic signals are connected and adaptable. California's Los Angeles and Orange County feature the greatest prevalence of smart traffic light technology according to an article published by Time. In Canada, the city of Toronto is preparing for an upgrade to smart traffic light technology as part of a congestion reduction plan. The smart light system is expected to be tested fall of this year. For the meantime, one of the limitations towards the expansion of Audi's Traffic light information will be the lack of smart traffic signals.
Traffic light information will be a components within Audi Connect PRIME services offered to United States drivers of the German brand as either an initial trial or for a paid subscription. The service currently costs $199 US for 6 months or $750 on a 60-month plan.