Don’t you hate it when you get caught by a traffic light? Either right when it’s turning red or, you know, after the “orange” when you contemplated putting the pedal to the metal to squeak through? Depending upon how much you hate waiting at lights, there could be a car in the future for you that will tell you how long you need to wait before the light turns green. Audi, has developed a feature, vehicle to infrastructure, that will be standard in cars built after June 1, 2016, in the United States.
There will be a short countdown to let you know how long you will be sitting at the red light, which will disappear before the light turns green, so you aren’t busy sitting there watching that instead of driving. Not necessarily a safety feature, but a convenience for the driver. Audi is even taking it a step further by discussing other features they are looking to develop in the near future.
“In the future we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, start / stop functionality and can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities,” said Pom Malhotra, General Manager, Connected Vehicles.
So then you begin to wonder, when does “convenience” become Big Brother? The green light countdown works by connecting the vehicle and infrastructure, meaning your car is connected to the light infrastructure. Now, what does this mean if the technology becomes integrated into the start/stop function of the car? If you try to “run” the red light, your car could be forced to stop? What about the other cars that are surrounding you, you know, the ones that don’t have this feature? Additionally, could it track how long it takes you between lights, meaning tracking how fast you are traveling?
Not necessarily, but something to keep in mind. This technology will be available for the Audi Q7, A4, and all A4 road models manufactured after June 1, 2016.
Looking at the other side of the coin, this feature is not meant to make you better at “beating the red lights.” Technology that will create fewer headaches and could reduce or ease your commute time would be a plus.
There are already cars that drive themselves, so a car manufactured to be able to increase traffic efficiency and fuel economy should not be that far of a stretch.
Drive safe out there!