Near Shanghai there is a city of six million inhabitants where connectivity has eliminated traffic jams and allowed road testing of autonomous driving.
Nearly two million cars, six million inhabitants and no traffic jams! It may seem like fantasy, but it is in fact reality. Wuxi is a large metropolis northwest of Shanghai, where autonomous driving is currently being tested. Cars communicate with traffic lights, electronic street signs and other road users via LTE mobile communication. The result is an unimpeded flow of traffic, which leads not only to greater efficiency, but also greater safety on the road. Wuxi illustrates the connected driving of the future – a project that assumes cooperation between governmental institutions and entrepreneurial expertise.
Traffic Light Information
Audi is working with three different government ministries on this project, because in China there is a major focus on innovative experimentation and the speed with which the stakeholders are co-ordinated is of decisive importance. Audi delivered the key technology in Wuxi, that isTraffic Light Information.
Based on the C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything) protocol, it allows road users and infrastructures to exchange large amounts of data in real time. But Audi is also the first car manufacturer to test Level 4 autonomous driving in real traffic situations.
By 2022, the Chinese government wants to equip 90 percent of its cities and motorways with V2X technology. But there are experiments like this outside China, too. Thanks to Audi Electronics Venture, the German company works together with cities all over the world that want to become smart and permanently improve people’s quality of life.
Audi had already installed Traffic Light Information at 5,000 intersections in various US cities – including Dallas, Houston and Washington D.C. – back in 2016. When cars approach one of these smart traffic lights, the Audi virtual cockpit or the head-up display will reveal the speed to maintain in order to reach the green phase. Consequently, the drivers can adapt the speed to match this.
The tests in progress in Wuxi will be extended to Ingolstadtand will turn it into a model city for intelligent and connected mobility. Road safety will improve, traffic will be controlled intelligently, mobility will become more efficient and emissions will be reduced.
Much of this will also be achieved thanks to autonomous driving. One day, when cars no longer have steering wheels, passengers will be able to relax,surf the Internet, play with their children or concentrate on their work. All this while travelling from A to B and arriving earlier.
A common communication standard is the foundation
According to a study carried out by Audi and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), “25th Hour – Flow!”, drivers spend in average fifty minutes in their cars every day. With fully autonomous traffic, commuting times could be reduced by a third, thanks both to a clever traffic management and a higher usage rate of the cars.
We would just need to raise the usage rate from 1.1 to 1.3 people per car, for example thanks to car sharing, and then there would no longer be any traffic jams. With less traffic, it would become possible to redistribute street space, , for example turning some lanes into bicycle or pedestrian paths. All this, however, requires a common communication standard: this is why Audi is one of the founding members of the 5G Automotive Association, whose goal is to make data transfer faster and more efficient.
Source: AUDI AG