SEAT technology enables cars to communicate with traffic lights

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Spanish carmaker SEAT has developed technology that enables cars to communicate with traffic lights, enhancing road safety and improving driving efficiency.

The cloud-based system was created for a project led by SEAT, in collaboration with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT), Barcelona City Council and ETRA (Electronic Trafic).

The DGT 3.0 platform uses cellular technology with latency times of 300 milliseconds to connect vehicles with traffic lights and traffic control centres so drivers can anticipate their upcoming status.

The system performs a calculation based on how far away the car is and the speed it is travelling at. When a vehicle approaches a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen displaying whether it will be red, green or yellow when it arrives.

“The traffic light sends a signal to the traffic authority’s cloud about its current status and when it is going to change,” said Jordi Caus, head of urban mobility concepts at SEAT.

Information on traffic or weather conditions or road works is displayed directly on the screens of the connected vehicles at any point of the road network

“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.”

The system also enables information on motorway incidents to be sent directly to vehicles without the need for information panels.

“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,” added Caus.

Importantly, the system only works as long as the vehicle is not exceeding the speed limit. Should the vehicle exceed the speed limit, the system will no longer alert the driver.

“The system does not work at higher speeds, which is very important for road safety,” said Manuel Valdés, head of mobility and infrastructure at Barcelona City Council. “It aims to be an auxiliary tool that enables motorists to drive more smoothly.”