The eternal problem of driving: the red light. While we all know it’s important, there’s nothing more frustrating than hitting a series of stops when you’re running late. Disregarding them is also not advised. If only there was a way you could ensure you’ll hit only green lights, thus drastically cutting down on your commute and the amount of gas used. Thankfully, the researchers at Audi think they might have a solution.
Called the “Green Light Optimization Speed Advisory” (GLOSA), this new tool is part of Audi’s Traffic Light Information system, already a subset of the Connect Prime technology. GLOSA communicates with the infrastructure in select cities then informs the driver when a light is due to change. It also alerts them to change speeds to hit the green light at the perfect time.
While currently only available in nine cities*, the system will aid drivers and decrease overall stress, making driving a more pleasant experience. There’s no anxious worrying over if you’ll make the green or yellow light or how long you’ll be stuck at a red light. Because this also prevents idling, it will helps with fuel economy and overall emissions. It is estimated that approximately 237 million gallons of fuel will be saved in Germany alone with the system.
The Traffic Light Information system- and indeed, most of the Connect Prime tech- works by receiving signals from the central traffic system of the participating cities through 4G LTE. The instrument cluster communicates of the car tells the driver the state of each traffic light and when it is due to change. If the car has a heads-up display, it will be shown there as well. An advisory is also displayed when the driver needs to speed up in order to hit a green light. (No alert appears if the car is above the posted speed.)
Limited Availability…For Now
GLOSA first made its debut in 2014 at the Consumer Electronics Show. At the time, it was called Audi Online and was nearly “production ready.” It wouldn’t be available until 2016, however, and even then, it was limited to Las Vegas. Still, reviews were positive, and the test proved the technology could work. With this latest update, Audi is confident that the number of supported intersections will reach 4,700 this year. Plans are already being made to incorporate GLOSA into automatic stop-start and self-driving cars in the future.
While the system is fantastic, it is still limited. Beyond only being available in select cities, a subscription to Audi Connect Prime is required. At $199 for six months, it’s an investment. Even then, only certain 2017 and 2018 models of Audi vehicles can have Connect Prime installed. However, the service also includes features like Curfew Alert, Google Earth, and information on fuel prices.
Much of culture and society, particularly in cities, revolves around having reliable transportation. Being late can have consequences, ranging from a social faux pas to being reprimanded at work or school. How long we sit in traffic eats into the precious time we have. GLOSA might be limited, but it is proof that life in the fast lane is possible. Audi is leading the charge in bringing gridlock to a halt and freeing our roads once more.
In the meantime, though, always stop at red lights and stop signs. They’re there for a reason.
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*The nine cities, at the time of this writing, are as follows: Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Orlando and Gainesville, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and White Plains, New York.