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Audi has taken the first steps to make connected vehicles a reality, announcing its first vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service in the US, which communicates when traffic lights are turning green.

The German company has already demonstrated the technology in Europe, but this latest step marks its first move into the wider global market.

Coming to the US in fall – which starts at the end of September – the new traffic light information system links to vehicles via the on-board LTE data connection and Traffic Technology Inc. servers.

When stopped at connected lights, the instrument cluster, along with the head-up display (if equipped), displays a countdown until the traffic light will change from red to green.

Audi’s American arm will start rolling out this new technology as part of its new Audi Connect Prime services in select ‘smart cities’ and metropolitan areas across the US in the coming years.

The V2I service will be available on certain 2017 model-year Audi Q7, A4 and A4 Allroad models produced after 1 June 2016.

Pom Malhotra, Audi’s general manager for connected vehicles, said: “In the future we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, start/stop functionality and can even be used to improve traffic flow in municipalities”.

“These improvements could lead to better overall efficiency and shorter commuting times,” Malhotra added.

By adding the new V2I service, Audi has again pioneered connected car technology. In 2010 the company became the first manufacturer to offer a broadband-enabled vehicle. Then, in 2014 Audi was the first carmaker to offer 4G/LTE broadband connectivity.

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Australia

Cohda Wireless, an Adelaide-based technology company, has been working on V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I systems for years, and now has its systems and services used by Audi and other manufacturers including General Motors (GM), Toyota, Volkswagen and BMW.

South Australia also began hosting driverless car tests at the end of last year – the first in Australia. Swedish manufacturer Volvo took to the streets of Adelaide in a pair of autonomous XC90 SUVs, marking the first driverless technology trial in the southern hemisphere.

Earlier this year the New South Wales (NSW) government announced it would trial a V2I traffic light communication system for trucks to aid congestion on Sydney’s roads, in partnership with Cohda Wireless.

CarAdvice has contacted Audi Australia regarding local prospects for the new V2I system, stay tuned for an update.

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