Cars can now ‘talk to traffic lights’

Cars can now 'talk to traffic lights'
  • SEAT trialled the tech, dubbed V2I, or ‘Vehicle to Infrastructure’, in Barcelona
  • It is fitted to its new model of the hatchback Leon model revealed today 
  • The feature only works when the car does not exceed the speed limit
  • In-car alert on the 10-inch screen reveals whether an upcoming traffic light will be red, green or yellow by the time the car arrives

Drivers will soon be able to avoid idling traffic lights thanks to cutting-edge tech from SEAT that knows when the lights will turn red or green.

The latest SEAT Leon, revealed today, is connected to the cloud which provides instantaneous data on nearby traffic lights.

It then tells drivers what colour the light will be when they arrive – assuming that tget are not exceeding the speed limit. 

Information will be shared with the on-board 10-inch infotainment screen and allow drivers to slow down or speed up their approach to avoid unwanted delays.   

The latest Spanish-made SEAT Leon, revealed today, is fitted with tech that allows it to send and receive information from surrounding infrastructure via the cloud (pictured)
SEAT Leon trialled the tech, dubbed V2I, or ‘Vehicle to Infrastructure’, in Barcelona. It claims to be looking for ways to improve road safety, traffic flow and environmental efficiency

SEAT Leon trialled the tech, dubbed V2I or ‘Vehicle to Infrastructure’, in Barcelona. 

It claims to be looking for ways to improve road safety, traffic flow and environmental efficiency.

When the Leon approaches a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen saying whether it will be red, green or yellow by the time the car arrives. 

It then calculates how far the car is from the lights and the speed it was travelling using real-time traffic data sent to the ‘cloud’ directly from the car. 

The process – which takes just 300 milliseconds – connects cars to the cloud via an internet connection.  

The Highways Agency has previously said that ‘co-operative intelligent transport systems’ (C-ITS) will play an important role in the future of Britain’s roads.  

Data will be exchanged between connected vehicles, control centres, infrastructure, personal devices, and cloud-based storage.

It is hoped the data sharing will improve traffic flow, improve fuel efficiency and lead to increased safety.

Authorities also hope to be able to use the information to broadcast messages to a connected car at any point in the road.

When the Leon approaches a traffic light, an alert appeared on the screen saying whether it will be red, green or yellow by the time the car arrives
Information from nearby infrastructure, including traffic lights, will be shared with the on-board 10′ infotainment screen (pictured) and allow drivers to slow or speed up their approach to avoid unwanted delays

Jordi Caus, head of Urban Mobility Concepts at SEAT, said: ‘Queuing at traffic lights can be a frustrating process and it always feels like a ‘win’ when you manage to time your driving perfectly for when the lights go green.

‘With this project we’re taking a first step to connect cars with overall traffic infrastructure.

‘SEAT’s new connected cars receive real-time traffic information from the Traffic Authority’s central cloud, including information displayed on motorway panels or the traffic light status in cities.

‘The traffic light sends a signal to the Traffic Authority’s cloud about its current status and when it is going to change.

‘It improves safety by providing advanced information about traffic lights turning red depending on your speed and therefore avoids abrupt braking.

‘This trial showcases how SEAT is looking at ways to use technology and data over human intuition to improve traffic flow, road safety and fuel efficiency.’ 

SEAT, which collaborated with the Spanish Traffic Authority, the Barcelona City Council and ETRA on the project, has just officially unveiled the new Leon which is filled with ‘connected’ technology.

The car manufacturer has invested almost £1 billion developing the tech-filled family hatchback, fitting it with a central 10′ infotainment screen, which includes gesture recognition.

It also has a built-in eSIM which allows the eCall service to directly contacts the emergency services in the event of a car accident.

Rival Ford is also working on the connectivity of its vehicles and recently announced it is rolling out Local Hazard Information Technology (LHI) to most of its vehicles. 

Ford wants to fit 80 per cent of its 2020 vehicles with technology that warns drivers about upcoming road accidents, bad weather and traffic jams.

The system pools data from other connected road users, emergency services and the authorities and beams it from the cloud directly to the car. 

Alerts pop up on the car’s dashboard display warning the driver about what lies around the corner. 

Rival Ford is also working on the connectivity of its vehicles and recently announced it is rolling out Local Hazard Information Technology (LHI) to most of its vehicles. Ford wants to fit 80 per cent of its 2020 vehicles with technology that warns drivers about upcoming road accidents, bad weather and traffic jams

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