Signing a Memorandum of Understanding this week with the city of Somerville, just outside Boston, Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said that over the coming decade, the carmaker would work to integrate its prototype traffic light assistant and new autonomous parking systems into areas of the city’s traffic control network.
Enabling vehicles to communicate with traffic networks means that on-board systems can alert the driver to the status of upcoming intersections, allowing them to slow down and avoid a complete stop - helping with traffic flow and improving fuel efficiency.
The company will also play a part in the city’s urban redevelopment plans, building new self-parking vehicle facilities outside of the city to capitalise on an expected uptake of driverless vehicle in the future.
The location of the new parking centres, away from the city centre, will allow town planners to introduce more parks and activity centres in the high-rise and kerbside space once needed to accommodate vehicles.
Audi says that the new parking facilities will be able to host around 60 percent more cars than a centre of comparable size, thanks to a self-driving car’s ability to park much closer to the surrounding cars.
“The car will always be part of our mobility. At the same time, due to congestion and parking problems, today it shows us the limits to mobility,” Somerville mayor Josef Curtatone said.
“With technologies from Audi we expect to be able to use the available urban space more efficiently. This enhances the quality of urban life.”