Are you one of those people who puts your foot down as you approach the traffic lights in an attempt to screech through just before amber turns to red? Or are you one of the cautious ones who begins to slow down in anticipation of “go” turning to “stop?”

Audi drivers in the USA will soon have some extra information to draw on. A news report has emerged revealing that Audi is working on some new car tech that will allow vehicles to directly communicate with traffic lights.

If this all sounds rather “sci-fi,” it’s worth remembering that self-driving cars are already being trialled. Therefore, this is actually a relatively simple thing to implement in technical terms.

The technology involved is known as “V to I” (Vehicle to Infrastructure). According to the report, the technology could soon work hand in hand with the “V to V” (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication that will one day allow self-driving cars to communicate with one another.

How will cars talk to traffic lights?

So what exactly will this technology do? There are two key functions, both based on a count-down display on the car’s dashboard. One will show a countdown to the light going green, disappearing just before to allow the driver to refocus on the road. The second countdown will appear on approaching a light, notifying a driver how long it will be until the light changes to red.

Obviously, the idea is that this latter countdown will warn drivers when there’s not enough time to get through the light before it changes. However, there’s no accounting for human nature. As such, one has to wonder how many drivers will simply try to “beat the countdown!”

It seems this has occurred to Audi too. The manufacturer has made clear that this feature is for “comfort and convenience” and not for safety.

Audi A4s and Q7s are expected to appear next year with this feature on board. To begin with, it will only function in a handful of (as yet unrevealed) US cities. There’s not yet any indication of any UK roll-out.

What do you think of this new piece of car tech? Pointless? Useful? Dangerous? Let us know in the comments!

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