Audi Takes on Stop Lights: A Must Read

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I apologize, I couldn’t think of a headline that would adequately convey the brilliance of a new test program Audi has just unveiled in Germany. The company — partnered with local government — has equipped almost 50 stoplights with sensors that relay information to specially equipped cars to — wait for it — tell drivers how fast to drive to catch a green light!

Brilliant!

The pilot program is being tested in Audi’s home town of Ingolstadt, and the driver alert is just one feature. More significantly, the network of “smart” traffic signals adapts to traffic patterns to deliver optimum light switching. With less stopping, cars use less gas. Less gas used, less pollution, less money spent at the pump, you name it. This is good news all around. Now if we can just get Cars.com to relocate to Ingolstadt, Germany…

More images below.

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By David Thomas | July 22, 2008 | Comments (14)
Tags: Audi, Car Gadgets

Comments 

J

That's what I've been doing for quite some time already.

But guess what, I doubt that people will pay attention to those or even care at all.

DL

some lights are timed so that most traffic traveling @ speed limit will hit many greens in a row. unfortunately many of the busiest streets in Boston/ Brookline seem to be timed to almost guarantee you to stop @ every red light.

i'm curious, if you have to quickly gun your car up to, say, 80mph in a 30mph zone (or kph or whatever) in order to catch the next green, would the Audi system suggest such?

i still think it's safer to time the lights to adjust to the speed/ flow of traffic, not the other way around

GR

This will only be effective if you're first at the red light or the cars in front of you exceed the speed you're vehicle suggests to catch the next green. The lights need to be smarter, not the cars.

DE

it's a fantastic new technology. Just a step more forward self-driving-cars.

Tony

DE,
The technology may be new but the idea is NOT!!!
In the beginning of 1980s in the Russian city of Samara they installed this system with the difference that there were electric signs overhead which displayed the speed, if which you held, you will make it trough the green.

DL,
the exact reason for this was that Samara is like Boston with a maze of intersections and you could never catch the green.

J,
people religiously followed these signs because that was the best way to get through. I was amazed how we could go 12-15 lights without stopping because before you would just catch the red light valley and you are for the long ride.

I don't know if the system is still there but in 1991, I believe it was still there.

J

Tony,

That is not happening around where I live.

Everyone just can't wait to stop at the next light, lining up at all lanes just like in the grids of a racetrack. What's worse? 1 stopped car each lane.

Tony

J,
such system will probably make them go nicely. Same thing was in Samara. People were racing each other. Give russian guy a car and see. But once system was telling them, "30 or you hit red" they knew, that they will be braking hard unless they follow the direction.
So, I guess this system not only can improve the way people get through the traffic but also it can prevent lots of unpleasant road behavior.

J

Tony,

Not happening.
From my observation.
Had a couple of friends tried this trick.
We all line up side by side with only one lane open on the side while going the perfect speed that makes us through green lights. Guess what happens?
Everyone zaps through that lane and gives us fingers.
Next thing happened? We all zap back pass those people at the next light and makes the formation again.
Then history repeated itself.
Do they seem to learn at all?
Not really, in my opinion.
So, we tried again at a different time of the day and different day of the week.
Nothing changes other than Sunday people tend to not give as much fingers as weekdays.

Tony

J,
still, this is not the same as having a computer telling you "go such speed or hit red".
these people think that faster they make to the next light faster they going to reach the destination.
But with the computerm, they will know that faster means slower

J

I have my doubts that people will care at all.

It seems likely to me that this would work with pre-timed signal systems. It seems less likely that it would work with dynamic signal control systems which constantly recalculate signal interval and sequence based upon queued traffic.

jman

Great idea for "smart cars". Now let's invent "smart drivers" :-)

How cool is that, fantastic post. That is something I would be looking for, I absolutely hate some traffic lights sometimes they change really quick and others are slower. So you never know whether to put your foot down and risk going through a red light for one second (and get a ticket for it, how annoying) or to slow down and irritate the cars behind. This feature sounds genious, will save the confusion if it works!!!

This is just so cool, really a smart idea. Audi is my favourite though. Thanks for sharing.

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