As unremarkable as the red traffic light symbol on the display seems: A trial on the streets of Las Vegas, a city with a population of two million that attracts more than 40 million tourists each year, soon makes you realize that the connected world now extends to road traffic as well.
Equipped with this knowledge, the drive through Las Vegas is much more agreeable — like waiting for an elevator, seeing what floor it’s currently at and knowing exactly when you’ll be picked up. Initial experience shows that if you can see when a light will turn green, your journey is much more relaxing. Relaxation in road traffic is about more than just comfort. If you’re relaxed and less stressed, you drive more safely. Cars communicating with the infrastructure around them can also cut fuel consumption in urban traffic by up to 15 percent, according to forecasts.
Las Vegas has around 1,300 traffic lights. So far, 1,100 of them transmit information about their timing. Audi is the first manufacturer to process this information in the IT backend. Oregon-based company Traffi c Technology Services (TTS) compares raw data from the traffic lights with historical data, checks it for statistical reliability and sends it in real time to the on-board computer via LTE, provided the connect PRIME service is enabled. This works in the U.S. with all current Audi Q7 and Audi A4 models fi tted with Audi connect. Every vehicle crossing a traffic light intersection in Las Vegas contributes to improving the system and the quality of the forecast, meaning the “Time-to-Green” service can be continuously enhanced. This is no easy task. Multilane intersections have complex traffic light timing systems that have to take into account, say, two left-turn lanes and hundreds of pedestrians.