SEAT develops traffic light anticipation system

Published 28 November 2019

In line with CEO Luca de Meo's drive to make SEAT a leader in advanced new technology for motor vehicles, the company has developed a system that forewarns drivers of the impending status of upcoming traffic lights.

A project led by SEAT, in collaboration with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT), the Barcelona City Council and ETRA (Electronic Traffic) successfully connects vehicles with traffic lights and the traffic control centre via the DGT 3.0 platform so drivers can anticipate their upcoming status.
This project also enables information on motorway incidents to be sent directly to vehicles without the need for digital information displays, bringing cars and infrastructure together via the cloud using cellular technology with latency times of 300 milliseconds.
 
The vehicle is equipped with technology to connect with its surroundings and receive information uploaded by the Traffic Authority to the cloud, which in turn enables the driver to anticipate what lies ahead in real time. “In this project, 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”, explains Jordi Caus, the Head of Urban Mobility Concepts at SEAT.
One part of the project consists in linking cars with traffic lights.“The traffic light sends a signal to the Traffic Authority's cloud about its current status and when it is going to change. The car receives this information, interprets it and alerts the driver of its upcoming status depending on driving speed. This is useful if it is about to change to red, as drivers can begin to decelerate before reaching the traffic light”, says Jordi.
 
When a vehicle is approaching a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen showing whether it will be red, green or yellow when it arrives, as the system performs a calculation based on how far away the car is and the speed it is travelling at. (For safety, this only works as long as the vehicle is not exceeding the speed limit.) 
 
In Spain there are 2,000 digital information displays that provide drivers with traffic and weather conditions or information about road work or accidents. With this system, all of this information is displayed directly on the screens inside connected vehicles at any point of the road network. According to Jordi Caus, “we can accomplish the same as what we used to do with variable message signs on the motorway, but now directly to the car from any point on the road.”
 “With this project we're taking a first step to connect cars with overall traffic infrastructure. We've begun with information functions, but with the future autonomous vehicle in mind we'll be able to act directly on the car in situations of risk”.

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