Audi made a big move in the self-driving car game this week – Business Insider
Soon, Audi cars are going to be able to tell drivers when a light
will turn green.
The new feature marks the first time an automaker has
successfully launched something called a vehicle-to
infrastructure (V2I) communication channel. V2I refers to any
time a structure in a city, like a traffic light, relays data to
The traffic light timer will be displayed behind the wheel
of the car. At this point, the system only works in
Las Vegas and in Audi’s A4, Q7, and A4 allroad models
built after June 1, 2016.
Audi plans on introducing the feature in other cities going into
Despite its limitations, the development illustrates how
Audi is looking to become a major player in the self-driving car
space. Its implementation of V2I will help
the system gather more data and strenthen the self-driving tech
Data gathered by V2I can help self-driving cars operate more
safely by giving them more information about their surrounding
environment. For example, the data can help self-driving cars see
the general traffic flow and areas of congestion.
“The primary benefit right now is to the person driving the
Audi,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi
America, said on CNBC. “Where it’s going to lead to
is the information can go from the car back to the
infrastructure. […] We have good information about traffic flow
and highways, but we really don’t have good information on
traffic flow in inner cities.”
Automakers are also exploring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)
communication, which allows cars to send data to other cars on
Audi has teamed up with BMW and Mercedes to supply digital map-maker HERE with the same
kind of data being collected in Las Vegas as part of an effort to
advance its self-driving cars.
Other automakers are also interested in integrating cities with
smart tech to help advance self-driving cars.
Artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng, who is currently
helping lead Chinese automaker Baidu’s self-driving car efforts
as chief scientist, wrote in Wired that it’s necessary
to make “modest changes to our infrastructure” for self-driving
cars to operate safely on public roads.
Sidewalk Labs, a division run under Google’s parent company
Alphabet, is also pursuing ways to connect cities to make them
Columbus, Ohio was awarded $40 million by the Department of
Transportation to help it “become the country’s first city to
fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars,
connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation
All of this is to say the connected city will become a greater
focus as Silicon Valley and traditional automakers ramp up their
self-driving car efforts and Audi is looking to stay ahead of the