Print 20 comment(s) - last by MrBlastman.. on Mar 12 at 11:18 AM

System uses in car internet to connect with traffic lights

My hometown had traffic lights on the main street with a little sign indicating that if went 40 mph and caught the first light green, you would likely make it down the entire street without stopping at another light. It was a grand design that was likely tossed in an effort to increase revenue by issuing more tickets for running red lights.
Audi has announced new technology that is a high tech version of that sign. The system is called Audi Traffic Light Recognition and the carmaker figures that the system could save millions of gallons of fuel.

The system uses in-car internet in a new way by leveraging Audi connect to establish a link between the car and the traffic light. The system is able to figure out the timing pattern of traffic lights (and the traffic lights in the vicinity) and maps those to an information system in the central instrument cluster that shows a virtual traffic light.

When the driver is stopped at a red light the Audi system calculates the time left before the light turns green and sets a timer for the driver on the display in the dash. The system also interacts with the start-stop tech in the car to have the engine on and ready to go 5-seconds before the light turns green.

In addition to saving fuel, Audi also thinks the system can reduce CO2 emissions by 15%.
Audi and the city of Las Vegas are working together on the trial of the system with 50 sets of traffic lights supported. Testing is also underway in Verona, Italy. 

Source: AutoBlog

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I do this manually already...
By MrBlastman on 3/11/2014 11:56:15 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps I'm eccentric, mayhap a bit mad and a dash of obsessive, I work out the timing and patterns of all the traffic lights in my area inside my head. It helps me dance around everyone else gingerly. It also drives my wife insane when she is driving and stops at a needless light. Sometimes she wants to hit me I'm sure from all my babbling.

RE: I do this manually already...
By MrBlastman on 3/11/2014 11:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
I don't do it to save fuel, though. I do it to save time. :)

RE: I do this manually already...
By BRB29 on 3/11/2014 12:04:09 PM , Rating: 3
time > fuel

I would gladly burn an extra gallon if it gets me home 30 minutes faster in this DC traffic.

RE: I do this manually already...
By Spuke on 3/11/2014 12:20:39 PM , Rating: 2

RE: I do this manually already...
By Jeffk464 on 3/12/2014 11:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
30 minutes, you are lucky to save 30 minutes on a 200 mile trip.

By MrBlastman on 3/12/2014 11:18:27 AM , Rating: 4
Not if you live in a major metropolitan area. Traffic in Atlanta is FUBAR.

RE: I do this manually already...
By Flunk on 3/11/2014 1:44:48 PM , Rating: 3
I do this too, it saves everything. Time, fuel, brake pads it all comes down to cost savings in the end.

This will be interesting
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2014 11:15:43 AM , Rating: 4
Hackers will definitely be looking to hack into traffic lights. Obviously they'll try to design it to where consumers can only read information. But we all know how well government IT that manages such things does with that.

RE: This will be interesting
By BRB29 on 3/11/2014 1:38:34 PM , Rating: 1
You must be talking about contractors such as CGI that made national mockery out of a famous website.

They are across they street from where I live.

RE: This will be interesting
By Flunk on 3/11/2014 1:48:26 PM , Rating: 3
I think CGI is taking too much of the heat on this. The waffling committee in charge of requirements missed due dates and constantly changed their mind. That's not the kind of environment that's conducive to good software design.

There was essentially no chance CGI could possibly deliver a working system on time. The wrong decision was made to release and patch later, but the bureaucracy is the real villain here.

RE: This will be interesting
By Grast5150 on 3/11/2014 4:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
I will not assume anything based on your comment. However it is obvious you have never worked with local, city, state or federal government as a solution developer.

These agencies are incompetent in their development of requirements, timelines, and decision making as related to technology solutions. Additionally, you assume the contractors have a say in the decisions that are made.

I will inform you that contractors are just You perform the actions which the governing agent which you work direct you to perform. In many cases the government agency decision make processes is so poor it impacts the ability to make rational decisions. The only action a contractor can perform is to document the change, have the agency accept the risk to the project, and move on.

In the end, contractors have a contract. Contractors build to the contract regardless if the morons in the government agencies have bad poor decision making processes.

This is what you get when government agencies hire on the Civil Services rules and have all powerful Unions to protect the members. Mediocre and incompetent people make decisions. Do not blame the contractors blame your government representative!!!!!

RE: This will be interesting
By FITCamaro on 3/12/2014 8:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Same goes for a lot of defense and other federal government work.

Synchronnized lights
By Solandri on 3/11/2014 1:01:03 PM , Rating: 2
My hometown had traffic lights on the main street with a little sign indicating that if went 40 mph and caught the first light green, you would likely make it down the entire street without stopping at another light. It was a grand design that was likely tossed in an effort to increase revenue by issuing more tickets for running red lights.

Synchronized lights work best in high-traffic areas with streets laid out in a regular grid pattern. In low-traffic areas, you end up with stupid cases like the light turning red when there is no cross-traffic. In particular, traffic lights with sensors to detect waiting cars and crosswalk buttons pedestrians can push are usually incompatible with synchronized lights. A single person pushing a crosswalk button throws the entire system out of sync.

So you usually only see the synchronized lights in urban areas. In the suburbs the light timings are usually tweaked by sensors in the road, to make them more responsive to the sporadic nature of traffic there. That's probably the reason it was tossed in your hometown, not red light ticket revenue.

RE: Synchronnized lights
By fic2 on 3/11/2014 1:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
In Denver the lights are generally timed so that you have to stop at each one. There are a couple of roads where the lights are synchronized by I am sure it is by random chance.

RE: Synchronnized lights
By eBob on 3/11/2014 2:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
It really works best on one-way streets since there is no left-turn phase. I went to college in a city that had mostly one-way streets and if you went the speed limit, you might only have to stop once to get in sync. Also, if you were hitting the lights on the early green you could avoid having to stop after a turn by accelerating swiftly through the first block. It was actually faster to get to the shopping areas on the other side of town by going through the city rather than taking the bypass. You could also tell exactly when a light was going to change to yellow because the "Don't Walk" signal would flash exactly 15 times.

RE: Synchronnized lights
By laviathan05 on 3/12/2014 11:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
My hometown uses the synchronized timing during the day and then changes over to the sensors around 8PM. Works out pretty well in my opinion.

Why not just get a Hybrid.
By Nutzo on 3/11/2014 1:23:55 PM , Rating: 1
All this expense just to get around the delay with a start/stop ICE only system.
I know a few people who have (non-hybrid) cars that shut off the engine at stop lights, and they all find the delay for the engine to startup annoying. There’s also the problem with the lack of air conditioning while the car’s engine is stopped. They would gladly give up the few drops of gas saved to keep the engine running if they could turn off the start/stop system.

On the other hand, my Camry hybrid doesn’t have these problems since there are no belts, and everything from the water pump to the air conditioning runs directly off the hybrid battery.

RE: Why not just get a Hybrid.
By superflex on 3/11/2014 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 3
Try not to strain yourself on that back pat.

RE: Why not just get a Hybrid.
By FITCamaro on 3/12/2014 8:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
You just get the joy of driving the most boring car in the world, a Toyota Camry.

And that's not the point of it. The point is so that people don't have to stop as much. If you maintain speed just going slower, you will save fuel, wear and tear, and frustration of starting off, getting fully up to speed, and then hitting the brakes again. Any good driver already does this themselves. You learn how lights are timed and how fast or slow to go to where by the time you get to the next light, its green and you don't have to come to a complete stop. This applies even for a hybrid since you will use more electricity and gas by not doing this which will cost you more money.

I let friction slow me down a lot instead of flooring it to the next red light. Instead I'll get up to about 30 and then coast if I know the light timing.

Wait, wait
By Dr of crap on 3/11/2014 12:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
The cost to "upgrade" the traffic lights will be passed onto us drivers in one form or another, so where is the savings??

Just moving the cost from the pump to some increased tax somewhere!!!

Good idea, I like it, but the traffic lights aren't set up yet. And it will cost to do that.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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