Audi travolution Project Explained

The automotive world and technology go hand in hand when it comes to developing efficient solutions for urban driving, and Audi’s travolution project is just the thing to prove this. Initially launched in 2006, the project uses a method that allows cars to communicate with traffic signals. This means greater efficiency and lower emissions in urban traffic. This field of technology is known as Car-to-X communication and has already proven promising results. How it works
The results obtained during the first travolution project in 2006 have shown that reduced waiting times at traffic signals cuts fuel consumption by 17 percent. As we speak, Audi is conducting phase two of the project, in which vehicles communicate directly with traffic light systems, using wireless LAN and UMTS links.

Each traffic light system continuously transmits a package of standard information that includes a description of the system’s structure, a status report on the color of the individual traffic lights for the respective directions of travel and a preview of how the lights will most likely change in the near future. The controller in the test vehicle uses this information to compute fuel-saving driving behavior for the driver.

If the vehicle is equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC), the travolution project turns the radar-assisted cruise control into a smartACC system. The traffic light system sends the time of the next light change to the vehicle. The on-board computer uses this to then compute the optimal speed. If the driver then briefly pulls on the steering column stalk, this assistant brings the car to precisely this speed, so that the driver doesn’t have to wait at the light.

The assistant also warns a driver who attempts to enter an intersection when the light is yellow or red or is changing to red while the driver crosses the stop line.

The company is collaborating with a number of partners in the travolution project, including the City of Ingolstadt, Scheidt & Bachmann GmbH, TaxiFunk Ingolstadt, ADAC (General German Automobile Association), GEVAS software GmbH, the Technical University of Munich, Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

What it does

Traffic lights have been equipped with communications modules that send the time for the next green phase to the car’s on-board computer. The drivers of these cars are informed through the Audi MMI infotainment system at what speed they should travel in order to drive through the intersection without having to stop. This speed can then be selected by the adaptive cruise control (ACC), but the driver can also delegate this task to the car’s control system.

If the car is stopped at a red traffic light, this transmits information via the car’s computer on how long the driver will have to wait before it switches to green again. If on the other hand the car approaches a traffic light that is about to switch to yellow or red, the driver is warned by a visual or acoustic signal, or by a brief interruption to the flow of power from the engine.

Vehicles can report traffic jams and can generate an overall picture of the traffic situation in a city. This is achieved in the travolution project using empirical data, taxi floating car data (Taxi FCD) and information from the ADAC, which the vehicle can actively retrieve from the server via UMTS.

The travolution system also makes it possible to pay online when refueling or parking the car. In both cases, the individual steps are visualized on the MMI on-board monitor, where the driver can also see how many parking spots are still available. The car itself communicates with the stationary equipment at the filling station or parking garage. When the driver confirms the charge via the Multi Media Interface (MMI), it is automatically debited from the customer’s account or credit card.

Future developments

Additional follow-on projects based on travolution are to be initiated. Moreover, nearly instant traffic information for the city will keep drivers better informed.

Audi is also working on the intersection assistant, which enables the cars to exchange information with one another. In fact, Audi says cars can warn each other of breakdowns and weather-related events such as snowy roads detected by the ESP sensors.
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