Your Next Car Might Be Able To Communicate With Traffic Lights

In the future, drivers may no longer have to spend countless hours waiting at traffic lights thanks to new technologies being developed by some of the world’s largest car manufacturers.

CNN reports that the likes of Volkswagen, Honda, Ford and BMW are all looking to develop technology that allows vehicles to seamlessly communicate with traffic lights in a bid to ease congestion, lower emissions, and improve safety.

Volkswagen is working with Siemens to make the technology a reality. The system uses WiFi and a range of sensors to produce position data which is more accurate than GPS. This system will help drivers avoid unnecessary stopping and starting, helping to cut down on the high emissions caused by stop-start traffic.

To develop the technology, the two companies have set up a section of road in Wolfsburg with 10 traffic signal systems that transmit information about their light phases. The car manufacturer says that the system will be able to tell a driver or a self-driving vehicle when to expect a wave of green lights.

“BMW have a counter, which counts down ‘5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 seconds’ to green, while Mercedes says ‘if you drive between 32 and 52 kilometers per hour, you’ll get green,” Franz Schober from the Siemens Connected Mobility System said. Volkswagen and Siemens technology also uses sensors to detect pedestrians and cyclists.

The German automaker plans to start introducing the technology into its vehicles from 2019.

Honda’s technology has been previewed by four cameras mounted in each corner of an intersection. The information gathered by these cameras is then sent to vehicles with connected-car technologies.

As for Ford, it is in the process of developing advanced vehicle-to-vehicle technology which will allow vehicles to communicate with each other when driving through a crossroads.

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  • Mike anonymous

    I can see the advantages to this, but I can also see the disadvantages. While a system like this could prompt people to slow down when approaching a light-stop decreasing the likelihood of accented, it could also prompt drivers to speed up as well, increasing it.
    It is essentially a hyper-focused citizen tracking system (know where you are at all times or where you may be going) which (depending on who you are) could be an invasion of privacy.

    The technology ‘IS’ there, but I believe (in my personal opinion) that the current implementation could be dangerous. Hopefully they can find a more efficient and safe way to implement this system if they do.

    • Vassilis

      The privacy issue is definitely there but I’m not sure there’s much safety issue. Drivers already accelerate when they see orange and many times they run the red light and they cause an accident. At least with this system they’ll be able to expect what’s coming. They’ll know they won’t have enough time to clear the traffic light.

      • Mike anonymous

        I do suppose your right, but I guess it all comes back around to human nature.


  • Blanka Li

    And the hack to turn all the lights green causing mayhem and chaos begins in 3, 2, 1 . . .

  • BlackPegasus

    How about just using existing technology to improve traffic conditions on the road. Dozens of different systems by different companies will only create problems.

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