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Audi rolling out new communications technology

Some models will communicate wtth traffic signals


German carmaker Audi is rolling out technology that will allow its vehicles in the United States to communicate with traffic signals, according to a report from Reuters.

The new technology is aimed at allowing for a more stress-free ride in what Audi officials say is the car industry's first commercial use of the nascent technology.

Audi of America, which is owned by Volkswagen, said select 2017 Q7 and A4 models built after June 1, 2016 will be equipped with its vehicle-to-infrastructure technology.

Known in the industry as "V-to-I," the technology allows traffic signals and other infrastructure to exchange safety and other operational data wirelessly to vehicles over the cloud, according to the Reuters report.

Eventual applications of the technology, which continues to be tested across the globe by carmakers and transportation agencies, is expected to help mitigate crashes and reduce congestion on roads and highways.

"This is our foray into V-to-I," said Pom Malhotra, general manager of Audi's connected vehicles division. "This is designed not as a safety feature but a comfort and convenience feature."

Audi's system allows the vehicle to display a countdown before a red light turns to green. Knowing how much time one has before the light changes to green will relieve much of the anxiety of waiting, Malhotra said.

Future applications of the technology could see it linked to the car's navigation system or its stop/start functions. Another possible eventual use is that traffic signals could advise the vehicle to keep to a certain speed in order to match the flow of traffic lights, executives said.

Audi plans to roll out the capability in five to seven U.S. cities this year. Detroit is one of those cities.

Some 88 miles of roadway will be dotted with the new technology, including I-96, I-696, I-94 and US-23.

"An alerted driver is a better driver," MDOT's Rob Morosi said. "This is going to be an immense safety upgrade as it's messaging you with information about drivers ahead to help prevent accidents."


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