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Audi Connected Vehicle Project to Launch in Virginia

A partnership among Virginia DOT, Virginia Tech, Audi and Qualcomm will introduce connected vehicle technologies for Audi drivers in northern Virginia. Participants hope the technology will help save lives on roadways.

Audi's Traffic Light Information (TLI) system receives traffic signal data to communicate signal change information to drivers.
Submitted Photo/ Audi of North America
Audi drivers in northern Virginia could have more highway data than ever streaming into their cars.

A partnership among the Virginia Department of Transportation, Audi of America, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Qualcomm will allow Audi Q8 SUVs to receive information related to highway work and traffic signal information, as well as process data coming from the vehicles themselves.

“VDOT strongly believes that connectivity between a vehicle and the environment in which it operates will be key to optimizing safety and this need for connectivity will continue even as more autonomous features are introduced,” said Marshall M. Herman, special assistant to the Virginia Secretary of Transportation. 

The project — set to go live in the third quarter of this year — will deploy Qualcomm's cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology along U.S. highways 50 and 29, interstates 66 and 495, and state routes 7 and 650, which include signalized intersections.

On arterial roadways, Audis equipped with the Audi Traffic Light Information (TLI) service will provide drivers a countdown to the green light. Vehicles will also receive work zone warnings as a step toward improving safety for both construction workers and drivers. The low-latency technology allows drivers to be warned of workers’ physical presence in an area.

“Last year, we began sharing our signal time information with Audi vehicles,” said Herman. “The opportunity to share more refined information with Audi through C-V2X has the potential to reduce congestion and improve safety for travelers through our arterial corridors.”

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will also be involved, offering research expertise.

“VTTI will develop software, perform integration and conduct demonstrations of the C-V2X technology in work zone use case scenarios for this project,” said Anne Deekens, a spokeswoman for VTTI, in an email.

Technology to allow traffic signals to communicate with nearby autos has already been deployed in other parts of the country. In 2016, officials announced a project to allow Audi vehicles in Las Vegas connected to the region’s Traffic Management Center to receive real-time signal countdown information via an on-board 4G LTE data connection. Audi’s TLI service is available in 25 U.S. cities, which include some 11,700 intersections.

Transportation departments in Utah and Colorado have formed similar partnerships with Panasonic Corp. of North America to develop their own connected vehicle projects.

“Our hope is the testing of C-V2X technology here in Virginia will help to reduce serious injuries and fatalities not only in Virginia, but also around the world,” said Herman.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.