Currently reading: 'Smart' cars that can talk to the road network due in 2020
Connected cars will be able to optimise traffic light sequences and ease congestion

Smart cars that can talk to the road network to optimise traffic light sequences and ease congestion will be in production by 2020.

The first trials for the long-talked-about technology, called vehicle to everything (V2X), took place in the Chinese city of Wuxi in 2017. This hooked up the city’s traffic light network to cars to help ease traffic flow, allowing the lights to adjust accordingly to the greatest number of cars wishing to travel in a particular direction.

Future car tech: gadgetry that could change the world

The project is being extended this year on a much larger scale in the city to optimise traffic, moving beyond just traffic lights and rerouting cars through navigation systems and smart traffic signs depending on volumes of traffic.

As an example of how drivers might interact with the technology, they would see a countdown appear on their infotainment screen or head-up display telling them how long is left until the lights go red or green and allowing them to adjust their speed accordingly.

The future of the car: an Autocar guide

The technology in its production application is destined for China first in 2020 to coincide with a commercial roll-out of a super-fast 5G mobile network to support it, but it is hoped a global standard will be created and approved to allow the smart technology to be seamlessly rolled out.

New roads in most major Chinese provinces must now be built with the required hardware and infrastructure for the V2X technology to operate.

Audi is partnering with Chinese tech giant Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, to lead development of the technology and the Wuxi trial. In 2016, the two companies set up the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) to help ensure all car makers and tech firms developed the V2X technology to the same standards.

Land Rover announces off-road autonomous tech

Other major car makers such as Ford, BMW and Daimler are on the board of 5GAA, as well as technology companies Intel and Vodafone, all with the goal in ensuring the technology is developed globally to the same standards.

Even if the technology is developed to the same standards globally, it still needs governments to back and legislate its introduction and install the required hardware. This is a much greater challenge than the development of the technology itself, and which is why it’ll come to China, and its speedier ability to deliver huge new infrastructure projects, first.

Read more


Read our review

Car review

Third-gen Audi A3 gets a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines and a new hot model - but is it the cream of the premium hatch crop?

Back to top

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Peter Cavellini 5 June 2018

Alright China...!

 China seems the right place to work the Bugs out of the system, in there Cities they have massive congestion and this system would be a boon there.