Car Tech Audi is adding a traffic light timer to select vehicles

Shawn Knight

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German automaker Audi will soon be integrating a traffic light timer in select vehicles that’ll show drivers how much time is left before the red light they’re stuck at turns green.

The timer, which will reside alongside the speedometer and other vital information in the dash behind the steering wheel, will count down how much time is remaining before the light turns green. It won’t go all the way down to zero (apparently to discourage racing), instead turning off a few seconds before the light turns.

Pom Malhotra, general manager of connected vehicles for Audi, said at a press event in San Francisco that the timer will reduce the anxiety and stress of sitting in traffic. Knowing how much time is left could allow a driver to change the radio station, contemplate a route change or turn around and check on their kid in the back seat, the executive noted.

Malhotra said that they do not encourage the use of smartphones behind the wheel but added that if there’s a time to do it, it’s when you’re stopped. At least he isn’t totally oblivious to the fact that people are going to use this feature to play on their smartphones (something people already do anyway).

Traffic light information won’t come complementary, however, as the German automaker is planning to serve up the data as part of its paid Connect Prime service that could set you back as much as $33 per month.

The rollout will be slow (after all, there are more than 300,000 traffic lights in the US) as the automaker will need to work with each city to tap into their traffic light infrastructure. The company expects to offer the feature in seven cities by the end of the year and 50 percent of its equipped vehicles by the end of 2017.

Lead image courtesy leungchopan, Shutterstock

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Posts: 1,462   +805
I don't see too many municipalities letting Audi into their traffic light systems for this reason; only the ones seriously strapped for cash or those that just don't give a F-
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Posts: 585   +336
Sure I'll let the guy in the Audi dart into the intersection and get t-boned by the guy running the red light.

Good thinking Audi, this only profiles the type of drivers that purchase your vehicles, A2240L32.
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Posts: 12,323   +5,705
Just think! This is the beginning of replacing street lights with dash lights. After all why wire the whole country when you can have dash lights on every intersection of a dirt road. No more need for a city budge in stop signs, or traffic lighting. This would be a streamlined bonus step, if we are to venture into autonomous vehicles.


Posts: 2,374   +1,630
"Back in the day" when I was a volunteer 911 operator with the city I live in, some of the old traffic lights in the downtown part of our city still have the light sensitive traffic lights that the fire department, police use to use at night to switch the lights. You would shine your spotlight on them before you got to the intersection to make them switch to green since people even back then paid no attention to a old style siren (not the ear piercing ones of today). Of course, when I got off the clock at 1-2am, I NEVER shined my super bright flashlight on them ;)
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I live in a town where there's not one single traffic light and in fact the entire county does not have one. A source of pride for the local council.

Audi is obviously going to have a hard sell in my area!


Posts: 16,056   +4,855
Just think! This is the beginning of replacing street lights with dash lights. After all why wire the whole country when you can have dash lights on every intersection of a dirt road. No more need for a city budge in stop signs, or traffic lighting. This would be a streamlined bonus step, if we are to venture into autonomous vehicles.
Of course, none of this takes into account the cost of developing autonomous cars, along with replacing every human driven automobile on the planet.. Which, by your lack of calculation, would be free anyway..:D

I suppose that's where Audi's master plan lurks, self driving cars.

But hey wait, why would we need lights on the dashboard if cars didn't have drivers? Wait, I know, so Audi could tag it on the standard features list, should we ever condescend to go back to letting humans drive.
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Posts: 4,718   +443
As long as it can't be used to show how long until the light turns red, as it will encourage even more Audi drivers than usual to race through red lights.


Posts: 16,056   +4,855
When I'm in the mood I can beat most people off the line in my tiny underpowered c1, so pass.
Probably only so long as you don't tell them beforehand they're racing you...:D

After thought: The undercurrent in this thread seems to be that Audi drivers are well, aggressive, obnoxious, and annoying.

Is that the reality, or are they just "special"?


Posts: 16,056   +4,855
Aw Cliff, you know I don't care how hard you "bite back". But thanks for the show of mercy anyway,

In any event, would you please fix your post so that it isn't inside my original post?
LOL ... where I live this is just an invitation to stop on the gas to play "beat the light" ......
"Stomp" on the gas pedal? I don't think the article mentions that the countdown works for lights going red, only for light going green otherwise Audi would be in big trouble with the law for favoring red light beaters.


Posts: 16,056   +4,855
This is just the next level of asinine, just above where they now expect you to buy light bulbs for your house which connect to the internet.

I mean really, is sitting at a traffic light not knowing when it's going to change, to much "anxiety" for Americans today?

The just looks like a random excuse to for Audi to invade the US traffic data base, and to which end, only God knows/

Somebody needs to tie these CEOs down, pump them full of lithium and explain to them they're not god. Also that they're "history making revolutionary ideas", are little more than brain farts, to anybody with any common sense.

I imagine this could gain traction with the imbeciles who think, "Honey Boo Boo", is a "beauty queen", or that, "pro wrestling isn't fake".

But hey, why don't we integrate the whole system with Facebook? That way, all your "friends" can know right along with you, that the traffic light you're sitting at, is going to change... Let me see a big "thumbs up" for that. (y) After all, "inquiring minds want to know".

Although, knowing when the red light is going to change, could give you time to dash off a quick call to Apple's Tim Cook. You know, just to find out if he's lonely, or sad, or too rich. He'll take your call........right. :rolleyes:

Follow this link, for more details about the plight of "poor Tim Cook", the unfortunate and woe beset CEO of Apple:

(Yes, that Apple).
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