Hit all green lights with new Audi gadget

Oct 24, 2008 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Audi´s Travolution device lets drivers know how fast to drive to coast through an upcoming green light. The company hopes the device will improve traffic flow for all drivers. Image credit: Audi.

(PhysOrg.com) -- If you drive down the same roads every day, you probably know the patterns of familiar stop lights - how long they take to turn green, or when the green arrow will appear. For light-conscious drivers or anyone looking to save some fuel, Audi is developing a new device that lets you know when upcoming stop lights will turn green, and even calculates how fast you should drive in order to coast through them.

The device, called Travolution, communicates with special transmitters fitted inside traffic lights up to 300 yards away. After calculating the car's position, the in-car gadget determines how much time remains until a green light turns red, or red light becomes green. If you can safely make it through the intersection, the device displays the optimum speed on a screen in your car.

In addition, if there's no traffic nearby, the device can even make the light turn green for you. If many cars are equipped with the system, the Travolution could serve as a communications link between cars and the traffic light, causing the light to adjust its signal based on how many cars are approaching.

The gadget works with any vehicle using Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technology, although traffic lights must be equipped with the transmitters.

The Travolution system, which was originally developed by the Technical University of Munich in conjunction with the traffic technology firm GEVAS, is intended to improve traffic flow and fuel economy, and reduce pollution. It could also help in meeting new European Union emissions standards.

Kate Dixon of Audi UK said that if 10 percent of cars in a city were fitted with the technology, all drivers would notice an improvement in traffic flow, mainly in reduced start-and-stop driving. However, the device would not be very helpful in extremely dense, bumper-to-bumper traffic, since drivers don´t have as much control over their speeds.

During two years of trials in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Audi equipped 46 traffic lights with the wireless transmitters. Tests showed that, in busy intersections, cars equipped with the device hardly ever had to stop on red.

Audi plans to perform further tests, and did not know how much the Travolution would cost if it is ever commercialized.

via: Ecogeek

Explore further: Government wants to make cars talk to each other (Update)

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User comments : 10

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seanpu
4.7 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2008
really great idea.
Bob_Kob
4 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2008
All great except for the whole 'turns light green is no traffic nearby'. If this were possible i would imagine the abuse some crafty people would be able to wreak with the traffic, if not cause accidents.
nano999
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2008
Great, another distraction.
CreepyD
4 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2008
I think something like this needs to be incorporated into the windscreen like a hud.
You wouldn't want yet another device talking to you telling you where to turn, how to drive etc..
Excellent idea overall.
ShadowRam
2 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2008
I can see this causing a lot of accidents.
deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2008
They use the light switching system in Sweden and it make driving a pleasure vs. in the uS. Saves lots of gas too.

That brings up a question; Will the control freaks who "know" how the lights should be timed relinquish their power?
humanist
not rated yet Oct 24, 2008
How about a LOW-TECH solution?

"Unless signage says otherwise, every red light is treated as a stop sign.."

Similar to our popular "Right turn on red after stop." (or for you who drive on the left side of the road "Left turn on red after stop.")
Modernmystic
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2008
I'd like this just because...that it saves gas would be a bonus.
fingersinterlaced
1 / 5 (2) Oct 24, 2008
If there are aliens watching us right now they're shaking their heads and saying "They're not getting it"
snwboardn
5 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2008
If there are aliens watching us right now they're shaking their heads and saying "They're not getting it"


Please define "it."