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Jordan Perch loves automotive innovation and that is his ultimate passion. He is managing the resourceful DMV.com and is an active contributor to numerous consumer and automotive blogs.

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Audi Gets the Green Light

Posted January 17, 2014 11:09 AM by Jordan Perch

Over the past couple of years, German car maker Audi has been putting a lot of effort into developing innovative technologies that are intended to improve the overall driving experience and make roads safer. They have developed advanced LED technology, night-vision assistant, a piloted-parking system, as well as the MMI infotainment system, which make Audi one of the most innovative car manufacturers in the world. Now, they want to take your driving experience a step further, with a piece of technology that is first of its kind, and is expected to be well received by drivers, but not so much by the authorities and law enforcement agencies.

It's called Traffic Light Assist, whose main goal is to help drivers get as many green lights as possible, which seems as a very convenient and practical feature at first glance, as it can help drivers get to their destination faster, and avoid waiting at red lights, which many people find annoying, but it raises a lot of safety concerns, since people who have such a feature in their cars would probably drive much faster.

The Traffic Light Assist was introduced at this year's CES in Las Vegas, where Audi demonstrated the system in an A6 sedan. It can analyze traffic light data, as it is integrated with the city's traffic signal system, and receive information about local traffic light patterns and timing, which is transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection. This means that the system does not have to use a camera to monitor traffic lights and inform you about light changes. Using the data from the local traffic signal system, the Traffic Light Assist can predict how long a red light lasts and when it's going to turn green.

The car tells you whether the next light is green or red through a traffic light icon on the center display, along with a countdown timer, informing you how much time you have before the light changes. This way, you always know whether the next light is green or red, and how long you will have to wait before it turns green. Also, it helps you adjust your speed, slowing down in case the next light is red, so that you don't have to come to a complete stop, or accelerate and try and catch a green light. Another convenient thing about the system is that it is integrated with the car's start/stop system, allowing the car to automatically turn the engine on and off when waiting at a red light, which can help save a lot of fuel.

However, if car makers are allowed to build this type of feature in their vehicles, it could lead to serious safety issues, as it would probably prompt drivers to hit the gas pedal often in efforts to hit every green light on their route, which is likely to increase the number of collisions, resulting in many injured drivers and pedestrians. That's why law enforcement agencies will probably not be too happy about the idea, and Audi will have to work very hard to convince authorities to give them access to their local traffic control systems.

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#1

Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/19/2014 10:37 AM

Some of the excitement for these new innovations is dampened by the fact most can not afford.

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#2

Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/20/2014 6:45 AM

Seems like an overblown concern. Its a very easy problem to fix.

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It can access the traffic signal system, so it should have no problem also accessing the legal speed limit at the car's location and deactivating 'Traffic Light Assist' for some period if the driver exceeds the speed limit by 10 mph or more.

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#3

Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/20/2014 9:44 AM

You'd think they'd concentrate their efforts at finding a longer-lasting blinker fluid for BMW, Audi, and Mercedes cars. They never seem to have enough fluid to operate their turn signals.

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#4
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Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/20/2014 6:43 PM

'Blinker Fluid'...Nice! Thank you. I hope you don't mind if I add a little of that to my collection. I'm putting it on the shelf with my left handed monkey wrench, 30' of chow line, 1/2 gallon of prop wash, and my favorite, relative bearing grease.

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#5
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Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/21/2014 2:04 PM

The biggest safety improvement to date is the double clutch gearbox that gives the acceleration the driver wants at any time without the distraction of manual gear changes and the occasional stall. The only extra required is a bit of feed back resistance to the gas pedal at economy and also at the speed limit +5mph. Additional info about the next set of lights is not going to save fuel, nor is switching the engine off briefly, at least not when maintenance costs are taken into account.

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Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

01/21/2014 4:03 PM

I disagree with you assessment of manual transmissions. I don't have thhe data to prove it, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out vehicles with manual transmissions were at fault in fewer accidents. The double clutched automatics still don't deliver the fuel economy that manual transmissions do.

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I also disagree with your assessment that switching the engine off briefly will not save fuel. The fuel savings are well documented. Also, with the possible exception of having to repair a starter earlier, there won't be much additional wear. Restarting a warm lubricated engine isn't a big deal.

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And you completely neglected any mention on the most important advance...synthetic blinker fluid.

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#7

Re: Audi Gets the Green Light

03/15/2014 11:08 PM

It should be a National Energy Policy federal law that all cities and counties have to have synchronized traffic lights.

When I lived in Tampa all through the 70's you could drive 2 miles per hour over the speed limit and go all the way through town for 15 miles and catch every green light on the major roads.

What I like about my little 2001 Audi TT Quattro 225 is the fact that with a 6-speed stick you can put it in neutral and coast for up to a mile when approaching a red light or stop sign and it will register 200 miles per gallon on the fuel mileage read-out!

Same going downhill in the mountains, gets 26 mpg climbing and 120-200 mpg on the downhill side of every hill!

Until you get to the curves, then all bets are off. :)-

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