Good news for high-speed renegades chasing cross-country, “Cannonball Run” driving records or impatient motorists looking to shave a few seconds off their crosstown commute: Audi is developing a dashboard system that will let drivers know how long they have before upcoming traffic lights change color. The feature will essentially let drivers adjust their speed, so the road ahead is nothing but green lights.
The so-called Traffic Light Assist (TLA) taps into local traffic light control information, then links with the car’s Wi-Fi and navigation systems to establish what light drivers are approaching. Onscreen, the dash display shows whether the next light is red or green, plus there’s a timer that counts down how long until the light changes.
So far, Audi’s tested the system in Berlin, Verona (Italy) and Las Vegas. While the TLA, in theory, sounds like a novel way to cut down on all the stop and go, I can’t imagine that a system that all but encourages drivers to speed up and “make the next light before the clock runs out” is going to fly with local authorities.
Plus, will city authorities really be game for opening up their traffic control networks to municipal outsiders? Regardless, Audi says they’re working on further development and negotiations, but I think they have a long road ahead of them.