Cars talking to traffic lights could be a thing in the near future.
If you like the thought of your car communicating with other cars on the road, you’ll love having it “talk” with traffic lights and other bits of infrastructure. That’s the I part of V2I technology that Cadillac recently tested, where a specially equipped CTS sedan received an alert from a traffic signal as the car approached. The message advised the driver of a “potential red light violation at current speed.” You know, the same thing your mother-in-law says when she’s in the car with you, only without the screaming and condescending attitude.
The technology works just like Cadillac’s vehicle-to-vehicle system, using Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) as well as GPS to monitor the car’s location and communicate with any fixed objects in the area that are similarly equipped. The traffic light used in this test was outside GM’s Warren Technical Center near Detroit, and was developed in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Macomb County Department of Roads, and GM Research and Development.
Obviously, this turn of events could be a bit unnerving for some. If a traffic light can communicate its status with the car, and the car uses GPS to know its exact speed and position on the road, it would seem Big Brother can easily find out who runs a red light. Presumably, the same thing could take place with high-traffic areas monitoring congestion, or twisty sections of road that advise people to slow down. To quell those fears, Cadillac is adamant about the anonymity of the system; no identifying information about the car, vehicle registration, or MAC address for the on-board computer is ever sent. Furthermore, extensive firewalls and “other measures” are in place to prevent hackers from gaining access to the information.
At least, that’s how it works in theory.
Cadillac offers no timeframe as to when V2I might become reality. That would of course depend on smart infrastructure development, and that’s out of the manufacturers hands. V2V systems, however, are currently offered as standard equipment on all CTS models.