Audi has presented a milestone of the automotive future at a testing ground in Dudenhofen, Germany. Along with other European vehicle manufacturers at the second CAR2CAR Forum, Audi demonstrated how it will be possible in the future for data to be exchanged between vehicles of different brands.
Communication between vehicles as well as between vehicles and infrastructure will pave the way for further improvements in traffic flow and safety. The system assists and alerts a driver to any number of dangerous situations on any road. It can notify the driver of an icy patch ahead on a rural route, of a broken-down vehicle in front or of an unexpected traffic jam on a highway. In addition, a networked and consequently “intelligent” vehicle boosts driving comfort.
If this technology is to realize its full potential, all vehicles and other road users must utilize a uniform standard to communicate with one another.
The demonstration on the testing ground allowed nine vehicle manufacturers and five development partners to prove – even in the preliminary phase of development – that communication between vehicles of different brands is already fast, precise and reliable.
Innovative communication units were installed in an Audi Q7 and an Audi A6 allroad quattro to facilitate the transmission of radio signals in accordance with the CAR2CAR standard. The system’s advantages were evident as it warned of an approaching emergency vehicle and prevented an accident with a motorcycle at an intersection. Similarly, a construction site hidden around a corner quickly triggered an alert in the driver’s direct field of view.
The central driver information system and the Audi MMI – the Multi Media Interface – are perfectly designed to present data to the driver in a clear and logical manner. Easily understandable audible instructions round out the warning system.
During the pilot experiment in Ingolstadt, the timing of 46 traffic lights was optimized. Three of them were also equipped with WLAN-based communications technology. Calculations provided by the Technical University of Munich, a venture partner, hint at the potential for remarkable efficiency. A 20-percent reduction in stops at traffic lights and correspondingly improved fuel efficiency – assuming an hourly volume of 1,000 vehicles in Ingolstadt – will save over 700,000 liters (around 185,000 U.S. gallons) of fuel annually.