Texas city takes big step toward self-driving cars with vehicle-to-infrastructure communication

May 2, 2017

The road leading toward self-driving cars has made it to Texas, where a Dallas suburb is set to become the nation's second city equipped with vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.

That means that cars equipped with V2I technology in Frisco, Texas, will soon be able to talk to the sprawling city's traffic signals. Currently, only a few Audi models are V2I-equipped, but the ability for vehicles to talk to roads is a major hurdle as automakers and legislators scramble to make self-driving cars a reality. 

Frisco, the fastest-growing city in the country, says its 115 connected traffic signals will go online by the end of this month. According to The Dallas Morning News, Frisco was offered free connectivity by Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services, Inc. 

2017 Audi A4 Ultra

2017 Audi A4 Ultra

Audis with V2I ability receive information not directly from traffic lights but instead from a central traffic nerve center connected to Traffic Technology Services' secure network, which then broadcasts the data. Using two antennas—GPS and cellular—a so-equipped car stays in constant contact with its surroundings.

For now, the information the vehicle receives is limited to a countdown timer indicating when an upcoming traffic light will change, but self-driving cars of the future will use this data to predict traffic flow. Audi bundles its V2I ability with its Audi Connect Prime subscription. At $199 for 6 months, it's not cheap—but it also includes Google Earth navigation maps and a host of other functionality. 

Frisco joins Las Vegas, the launch city for V2I in the United States.

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