Tuesday, 07 Oct, 2008 Technology
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Audi Develops Software to Avoid Traffic and Reduce Wasted Fuel

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The German car manufacturer Audi developed a prototype system that allows traffic lights to communicate with automobiles and with each other. The invention helps drivers to successfully avoid rush-hour traffic and decrease the level of fuel spent.

The project manager of the Bavaria-based company with headquarters in Ingolstadt, Cornelius Menig stated: "The motivation behind the project is making inner city traffic more efficient. There will be less waiting at lights, less fuel consumption and less noise."

The main system is equipped with a module located inside the car as well as a communication unit stored inside the traffic light control. The signal coming from the traffic light is received with the help of a wireless LAN technology. Right before it turns green, the system estimates the average speed that is required to get through on that phase. The process is shown to the driver on a dashboard multimedia interface.

"We show the driver a band between minimum and maximum optimal speed so he or she can ride the green wave. There is no need to go at a certain speed, so the driver can adapt to the traffic flow. We think that knowing the appropriate speed will reduce accidents caused by abrupt braking," said Mr Menig.

It is worth mentioning that Travolution was developed by management experts in Ingolstadt. To test the system, a network, consisting of 46 smart intelligent lights, has been set in the town. The traffic lights use a software program that optimizes phasing in order to reduce stopping times.

Currently there are three traffic lights that run a full version of the software program which makes it possible to communicate with specially-modified A5 and A6 Audi Avant. There's no need to install the software in all vehicles. The company considers that there will be considerable benefits in case its invention reaches an adoption level of about 10 percent.

The current estimations show that the intelligent traffic lights decreased stopping at intersections by 17 percent.

The EU Travolution project, estimated at 1.2 million euros (about $1,627,000), has the goal of avoiding the stop-start driving which increases the level of petrol spent and the amount of CO2 emissions.

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