A fully autonomous car may not be that far out if we consider the advances that the automotive and electronics industries have achieved. We've seen how there have been systems developed that enable cars to communicate with other elements, including other cars, pedestrians, and road signs. Audi has always had its eye on making a car more efficient.
So far, Audi has focused on producing better engines, suspensions and body work. But the most daring so far is the travolution, Audi's car-to-traffic signal communication system. The travolution is still under development and is currently testing in Ingolstadt.
This system is intended to cut the time spent at a standstill or accelerating by communicating with the traffic signals. Travolution uses wireless LAN and UMTS links to talk to the traffic signs and ask them about the color change time. The traffic signals transmit data, converted by the system into a graphic.
The driver sees what speed to use so that the next traffic light changes to green before the car reaches it. If a car is at a red traffic light, the driver is told how much time is left before the light turns green.
The driver can consume fuel of up to 0.02 liters for every traffic-light stop. This system also reduces the CO2 levels of about two million tons,equivalent to a reduction of approximately 15% in CO2 from motor vehicles in urban traffic.
Audi has always been guided by its principle of 'Vorsprung durch Technik' in creating efficient cars. However for Audi, it is not just about making an efficient car. It aims to make sure that the whole journey is just as efficient.
This is the reason why Audi’s development team also studies the traffic system. The automaker started the travolution project which brings out the notion of cars communicating with traffic signals. Since it allows for a reduction in the time spent whether the car is accelerating or even at a standstill, fuel consumption is lowered significantly.
Audi has invited traffic planners and journalists to conduct various demonstration runs in order to assess its travolution project. The testing is to be done in Ingolstadt. Audi had originally conducted a travolution project back in 2006 and the result then was that when waiting times at traffic signals were reduced, it caused a 17% drop in fuel consumption.
Meaning that for one year, the car would be able to save fuel worth 700,000 liters or about 184,920.44 US gallons. A new yet adaptive computing algorithm has been controlling the traffic lights in Ingolstadt.
This algorithm was developed by the brand and its various partners who are from colleges that offered business and industry courses and even advanced engineering degrees. With the current travolution project, Audi takes it one step even further.
Through the use of UMTS or wireless LAN, the new travolution will now allow the car a more direct way of communicating with the traffic light systems. In order to determine if it works under real-life conditions, fifteen of its test vehicles have gotten permission to test the system on 25 traffic lights in Danube.