Audi is making vehicles that are able to ‘talk’ to traffic lights.
Selected Q7 and A4 models built for the American market after June 1 this year will carry the ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ technology.
Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, said five to seven US cities will be ‘switched on’ one by one without revealing their identities.
The system, developed by Traffic Technology Services, will be introduced into Europe when the infrastructure is ready, Audi said.
It is also likely to be filtered down to VW vehicles over time.
The TTS, which uses in-car 4G connectivity to communicate with traffic control centres, displays a countdown before a red light turns green, while the car also warns its driver when it is too late to beat a red light.
“This is our foray into V-to-I,” said Pom Malhotra, general manager of Audi’s connected vehicles division.
“This is designed not as a safety feature but a comfort and convenience feature.”
The German carmaker said future versions of its system could be linked to a car’s navigation system or its stop/start functions, while traffic signals could advise a vehicle on a speed limit to keep the flow of traffic to optimum levels.
The Internet of Things could one day see optimum maintenance of our roads while problems such as congestion and car parking could be solved by the frictionless flow of data.
However manufacturers have been warned that design flaws could allow hackers to take control of vehicles.