Audi testing fuel-saving traffic light recognition technology
Exploring new ways to leverage the power of its Audi Connect in-car internet, the automaker has begun road testing its traffic light recognition system in several cities around the world including Berlin, Verona, Italy, and Las Vegas. First displayed on an A6 sedan at the CES Show in January, the system is designed to maximize total operating efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting down the amount of fuel wasted by shortening the time a vehicle spends stopped at red lights during the normal course of travel.
The Audi traffic light recognition system functions by establishing an active link between itself and the network of traffic signals in the immediate area. After learning the sequencing program, it uses a display in the vehicle's Driver Information System to offer guidance regarding the speed required to pass through the intersections ahead when the light is green. Using a readout configured to look like a typical red/yellow/green signal plus a digital numeric cue, the system also interfaces with the car's existing start/stop circuitry to further aid in the time/fuel-saving efforts. In situations where a driver does get stopped at a red light, this latest Audi assist also provides a secondary heads up and automatically restarts the engine five seconds before the signal is scheduled to turn green.
According to calculations it released following the evaluations held in Berlin, Audi projects this system has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent. Implicit in that finding is a commensurate reduction in fuel usage - which it pegged at nearly 2.38 million gallons in Germany alone -- not to mention an equally dramatic drop-off in commuting time. The automaker says its new traffic light recognition system is fully production ready and could be fitted to every model in its existing lineup providing lawmakers pass the necessary legislation to accommodate implementation on a large-scale basis. As for its future in America, Audi confirms that "a market launch is currently the subject of intense analysis in the United States."
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