Audi’s new traffic light recognition system will be perfect for Aucklanders – it has the potential to allow drivers to wend their way through the city’s streets without getting held up at the ever increasing number of red lights.
Audi says it is ready to be fitted to every new car leaving the factory – that’s if governments allow it. The New Zealand Transport Agency would be one government body needed to okay its use.
The system works by linking Audi connect, the in-car Internet function, to the local traffic light network. The automated traffic light sequence is relayed back to the car and shows the driver the legal speed necessary to catch a green light.
If the driver is already waiting at a red light, the system – dubbed Audi Online traffic light information – will count down the time remaining until the next green light. It is also linked to the car’s Start-Stop function and restarts the engine five seconds before the green light appears.
An Audi A6 sedan (above) demonstrated it at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last November. It was hooked up to 50 sets of traffic lights, on highways and in the city centre.
Testing is also underway in the northern Italian city of Verona, where some 60 traffic lights covering almost the entire city centre are involved, and in Berlin, where 25 Audi customers are driving cars that can link up to 1000 traffic lights in the city.
Audi claims that as well as providing a more relaxed drive, the technology could help to reduce emissions by up to 15 per cent, therefore saving fuel. It calculates that if it was rolled out throughout Germany, almost 900 million litres of fuel could be saved each year.