Red lights aren’t just torture devices that make your daily commute worse or God’s way of keeping you from having fun; they’re also a huge waste of fuel. Tackling that problem, Audi demonstrated Wednesday in Germany its “travolution” technology that enables cars to communicate with traffic singles using wireless LANs and UMTS links so drivers can better time the lights and reduce fuel consumption.
By allowing vehicles to communicate with traffic signals via Wi-Fi/3G, the vehicle’s driving speed can be optimized so that the driver will encounter fewer red lights, saving the amount of fuel wasted when the car is brought to a halt and started off again. Another cool feature is the ability to gently press the brakes if you’re going to run a red light, encouraging you to stop.
Two of the 15 test cars are also equipped with a smart adaptive cruise control system which uses the signal timing information to manage the vehicle speed automatically. Over 150 traffic lights in Ingolstadt have now been integrated into the test systems that include the communications and an automatic learning algorithm that monitors traffic flow and adjusts the signal timing.
According to the data obtained so far, the driver can fuel consumption by 0.02 liters for every traffic-light stop. This in turn translates into a reduction in CO2 levels of about two million tons (equivalent to a reduction of approximately 15 percent in CO2 from motor vehicles in urban traffic).
travolution also has another neat feature: it allows to pay online when refueling or parking the car, by communicating with the pump or parking meter.