Audi Says 'Nein' To Waiting At Red Lights

Audi’s taking a page from the classic children’s story “The Tortoise and the Hare” and helping slow and steady drivers win the race to the supermarket.

The German automaker's latest piece of technology, first shown at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, helps drivers avoid red traffic lights.

How has Audi managed this trickery? As Jalopnik writes, the Audi Online traffic light information system “relies on local data sent to the car via Wi-Fi about patterns and timing.” This results in the car giving the driver a recommended speed limit that will allow him or her to cruise at a pace that coincides with the timing of nearby green traffic lights.

But what if slow and steady just isn’t your style? Well, Audi Online traffic light information is ready to help out lead-foot drivers, too.

Audi said in a press release that should drivers fail to heed the suggested speed limit of the Online traffic light information system and hit a red light, the system will display a timer that tells the driver how long he or she will have to wait until the light turns green.

When used in a car that also has a stop-start system, which saves fuel by automatically turning off the car's engine anytime the car comes to a halt, the Online traffic light information system “can ... automatically alert the start-stop computer to start the engine five seconds before the light changes,” in order to ensure a speedy getaway, Automobile Magazine reports.

All in all, Audi thinks the Online system can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent, while increasing fuel efficiency.

The company says that the system can be employed on all of its models and that the technology is "fully mature"; however, Audi notes that it is still in talks to get access to the local traffic infrastructure information that will allow the system to work effectively.

Pilot programs for the system are currently under way in Verona, Italy, and Berlin, Germany. In the United States, there is already a pilot program in Las Vegas, Nev., and Audi is currently analyzing launching the system in the U.S. for consumer use.

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2014 Geneva Motor Show