22 September 2008

It's all so green...

Audi's clever traffic lights will always say 'go' for you...

Audi A5 and A6

It happens every now and again, that glorious commute into work where every set of traffic lights miraculously turns to green as you pass.

But what if it could happen, y'know, every time? That's the rose-tinted vision of the future that Audi's working to with some clever new software called Travolution.

Essentially, it's a system that allows traffic lights to 'talk' to nearby cars, telling them how long they've got until the lights next turn green.

In turn, the car calculates the optimum speed to travel in order to hit the lights just as they go, erm, 'go'. Neat, eh?

Audi has installed a trial network of 46 'intelligent' lights in the centre of its home city of Ingolstadt, and says that the technology is already reducing CO2 emissions and pollution at least within its range of specially modified A5s and A6s.

All very worthy, but we do spy a couple of tiny potential problems here?

One, if there's someone dawdling in front of you at 15mph, and the on-board computer tells you that you need to do 30mph to hit the next green (and save the environment, man), are you morally justified in pulling out a dodgy overtaking manoeuvre to get past him?

And two, what if you've got, say, half a mile to the next set of lights, and they're going to change back to red in 15 seconds? Will the computer advise you to up your speed to 120mph?

Audi plans to roll out the pilot scheme across Ingolstadt over the next few months. Any chance you could install a few of those clever lights on A40 around White City, chaps?


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