The Light Will Turn Green in 3, 2, 1: Audi Expands Traffic Signal Info

There are a lot of moving pieces involved in the race for a fully autonomous car, and Audi is making its next move with vehicle-to-infrastructure enhancements. The automaker announced that it's expanding its Traffic Light Information service to more than 2,250 intersections across the U.S., allowing select model-year 2017 and 2018 vehicles to communicate with traffic signals.

Related: Cadillac Tests Technology That Talks to Traffic Lights

The program, which launched in 2016 in Las Vegas, enables the car to communicate with the city's traffic signal infrastructure. Audi says that when a vehicle approaches a traffic light, it receives real-time signal information via the onboard 4G LTE data connection. If the light is red, the amount of time remaining until the signal changes to green is displayed in the instrument cluster in front of the driver or in the head-up display, depending on how the vehicle is equipped.

Joining Las Vegas are Phoenix; Kansas City, Kan.; Dallas; Houston; Palo Alto and Arcadia, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Denver; and Washington, D.C. Cadillac is also developing similar technology; the automaker recently collaborated with Michigan road agencies for a vehicle-to-infrastructure test using a CTS and traffic signals equipped with a dedicated short-range communications protocol, which is added to existing traffic signals.

As more automakers continue to ramp up the use of this technology, the Department of Transportation will continue to monitor the use and development of these systems to ensure that the wireless interface that enables vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications is secure and dependable, specifically in extreme weather conditions and in times of power outages.

"V2V and V2I applications utilizing DSRC may have the potential to significantly reduce many of the most deadly types of crashes through real-time advisories alerting drivers to imminent hazards — such as veering close to the edge of the road; vehicles suddenly stopped ahead; collision paths during merging; the presence of nearby communications devices and vehicles; sharp curves or slippery patches of roadway ahead," the DOT said in a statement.

Audi says the goal of its system is threefold: to reduce driver stress, decrease road congestion and continue the development of an infrastructure that supports self-driving vehicles. The automaker also plans to expand the technology to include functions like integration within the vehicle's stop-start function, optimized navigation routing and other predictive services.

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