• CES
  • Jan 9th 2014 at 3:32PM
  • 20
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Seyth Miersma / AOL
Before taking a ride in Audi's impressive Piloted Driving A7, we took a short spin up and down the Las Vegas strip to check out a smaller, but intriguing piece of Audi driver assistance technology called Traffic Light Assist that promises to help drivers make every green light.

Using both live and predictive data beamed into the vehicle's navigation unit via onboard wifi, TLA doesn't need a single camera to tell you when the light is going to change. Local data sources provide information about traffic light patters, and the in car system uses that data and the motion of the car to predict exactly how long it'll be until the green light goes red.

In practice, the system shows a traffic light icon in the central display (a head-up display would be a nice option), along with a countdown timer that reads the number of seconds before a light changes from red to green. Additionally, the system corrects (nearly instantly in our demo) for changing lanes and resultant changing signals; changing a straight-through traffic lane to a left-turn lane and signal, for instance.

What's more, the stop/start system is integrated with the new software, as well, restarting the engine with a few seconds to go before the light in front of you changes to green. Pretty slick.

Audi set up a trial of the system in a A6 sedan around the Las Vegas Strip, and it worked pretty flawlessly for us. The only time it was tripped up was when we pulled off into a casino driveway to change drivers; here the navigation system still placed us on the neighboring road. Of course, this is an issue that crops up with navigation systems themselves, too, not specific to Traffic Light Assist.

Audi has been testing the new technology in Ingolstadt and Berlin in Germany, as well as in Verona, Italy, in addition to the test it set up in Vegas for the purposes of CES. The good news is that, even in this beta form, the implementation of the software was as simple as patching in to the existing A6 CPU. Implementation of Traffic Light Assist on a consumer level would have more to do with getting the proper streams of traffic signal data from cities across the world rather than a problem with installing it in each car. They're working on it.


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  • 20 Comments
      Ryan Schneider
      • 1 Year Ago
      "You'll....never....shut....down....the....REAL....Napster."
      karlInSanDiego
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seyth, will you please revise the article (since you drove it and didn't just re-blog another writer's article) to describe if the car is indeed adjusting your speed (cruise control style) the way the headline might suggest? Some folks here are presuming that's what the tech does, but your article says no such thing. It only talks about a traffic light display on the dash and describes how this will help a driver know when the light will change. It does say the stop-start restarts adaptively, but otherwise this is a confusing article that could lead folks to understand that the system is braking and accelerating the car for you, which it clearly couldn't do without additional margins of safety and auxiliary system to see other traffic and people. (which we know Audi/Stanford have achieved to some success already)
      inktownlegend
      • 1 Year Ago
      In my experience being the first one to pull into an intersection isn't that important when you consider all the people that speed up at yellow lights. I was broadsided by a guy doing 50mph in a 40mph zone trying to beat the light and I didn't even rush out there. Ever since then I have paid that more attention to yellow light speeders, and its scary how many lights are ran on a daily basis in a 20 minute commute. This would be some tech that I would not use and seems to make the roads more unsafe. I do like the idea of it starting the car though. However, it would be better if the car didn't turn itself off in the first place.
      JSP
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hope this works out. It would greatly reduce the need for hybrids.
      Rampant
      • 1 Year Ago
      Some college did a test on a similar technology a few years ago and they found it to be very successful for one, maybe two cars that are equipped with a similar system, but after that point it would negatively impact the rest of traffic as a whole leading to overall slower traffic patterns and longer commutes. Cool tech for one person, overall negative impact for the rest of society.
      Max
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've been timing lights ever since I was a 9-year old pedestrian. When I got my license, I timed lights for efficiency and because it's much easier to roll into second or third gear, as oppose to coming to a complete stop to get into first. I had a similar idea a few years ago, but I was concerned about all the accidents that would result from a device failure or if drivers would rely on the technology and not look for other hazards (inattentive drivers who sit on the brakes while the light turns green, emergency response vehicles, jay walkers, and other road hazards). Audi might be exposing itself to a products liability suit.
        Card13
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Max
        I'm sure there will be a clause to minimize liability, just like how you can't sue a GPS company if it sends you the wrong way down a one-way street and you have a crash.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      The first time someone runs someone over in a crosswalk because the light on the dash panel didn't match the light on the post, Audi will pay the medical bills. Then they'll either implement camera-based technology or discontinue this cool but currently unrealistic idea.
        Card13
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        Even if a street light is green, you can't run over pedestrians. This doesn't magically take away the driver's responsibility (and liability) to look around them.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Card13
          I totally agree. However, this technology encourages the driver to keep their eyes inside the vehicle instead of outside. It's a recipe for disaster.
      Memphis
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why does the civic si, Chrysler 300, and this Audi have the same or close looking wheels?
      Dfelix70
      • 1 Year Ago
      How more reasons can car companies come up with to help us keep our eyes OFF the road? This is seriously getting ridiculous. Firstly, if you are driving in an area with traffic lights, then, more than likely, the smart/safe/legal speed for that area should give you more than sufficient time to react to changing lights. Secondly, you should be driving safely and smartly in those types of areas as they are probably traffic- and/or people-congested, that you should be on the alert for anything. Thirdly, this is just stupid. STUPID, IRRESPONSIBLE PEOPLE MOSTLY CAUSE ACCIDENTS, NOT THE LACK OF TECHNOLOGY.
      btc909
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's slick it can start the engine before the light turn green. Now only if the AC compressor was running when the engine isn't running especially when it's 100+ in Vegas would be even more amazing. Still would never buy an VW errr ummm I mean an Audi. FYI not exceeding the speed limit too much also helps you to make the green lights assuming the lights are timed correctly.
      EdwinPalmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder how well that would work in my area. 90% of our lights are not timed ; they are triggered by cross-traffic. The ones that ARE timed have different durations depending on the time of day. I'd like to have this system in my next car , IF IF IF it actually works.
      Nick Musachio
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Always Green Traffic Control system has a lot of advantages of the Audi system: It doesn't require any vehicle modifications or subscriptions. Check it out here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evhbUK2EBDc. Additionally Jennifer Grayson of Huffington Post wrote about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-grayson/innovation-earth-this-tec_b_5166878.html
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