HERNDON, Virginia — When select models of the 2017 Audi Q7, A4 and A4 Allroad begin arriving at Audi dealerships this fall, their dashboards will include technology that lets drivers know when a traffic light is about to turn from red to green.
Developed in conjunction with Traffic Technology Services, Traffic Light Information is part of Audi's Connect Prime subscription service, and the German automaker says it's the first in the industry to offer this kind of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) integration.
Prices for Connect Prime start at about $25 per month for a 30-month subscription (shorter subscriptions carry a higher monthly charge) and include such features as navigation, fuel price and parking information, geofencing and entertainment.
The new technology enables the car to communicate via its onboard LTE data connection with the infrastructure in select U.S. metropolitan areas and receive real-time signal information from the advanced traffic management systems that monitor traffic lights.
Once the information is conveyed to the vehicle system, it appears on the driver information system in the dashboard, as well as on the head-up display (if so equipped), to indicate the time remaining until the signal changes to green.
Interestingly, as the digital display counts down the time to green, it cuts out at the 4-second mark, perhaps to dissuade stoplight racers from using the system as a launch signal.
Its real purpose, says Audi, is as a first step toward advanced V2I communication systems that can help "improve the customer experience," increase safety and improve vehicle efficiency.
"This feature represents Audi's first step in vehicle-to-infrastructure integration," Pom Malhotra, Audi's general manager for Connected Vehicles, said in a statement. "In the future we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, stop-start functionality and can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities. These improvements could lead to better overall efficiency and shorter commuting times."
Edmunds says: Audi continues to stress technology development in its vehicles, and the new Traffic Light Information system should appeal to particularly impatient drivers.