Victoria prepares for on-road trials of connected vehicles

Victorian roads will soon be used for testing cellular based vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications as part of a government-backed trial.

Late last year the state government awarded Telstra and Lexus a $3.5 million grant for a two-year field trial of connected vehicle technology using the telco’s 4G mobile network.

The tests have involved ‘cellular vehicle to everything’ (C-V2X) technology, which allows vehicles mdash; in this case two Lexus RX 450h F Sport SUVs mdash; to communicate with other road users or intelligent infrastructure.

“The essence of this connected-vehicle trial is about amplifying our ability as drivers, combining and coordinating the skills and strengths of the human and the machine - a seamless blend that extracts the best from both,” said Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson.

The vehicles are being used to assess five applications of V2X technology. One is automatically alerting a vehicle if another car is braking hard, even when they are out of sight. Another is in-vehicle speed limit warnings, including advisory limits for winding roads, for example.

Lexus said another potential use for the technology is alerting a driver if there are pedestrians or cyclists are crossing the road. The alert is based on a video sensor at an intersection.

V2X can also alert drivers of danger at traffic lights; for example, if another vehicle is likely to run a red light. A fifth application is warnings of potential collisions if another car is stationary or moving slowly even if it can’t been seen.

The trial involves equipping the SUVs with short-range 5.6GHz radios for vehicle to vehicle communication, and the use of Telstra’s cellular network when coverage is available.

“This technology is proof that mobile and automotive connectivity developed here in Australia has the ability to help prevent accidents on our roads and to potentially save lives,” said Telstra’s group executive network and IT, Nikos Katinakis.

“The strength and speed of our mobile network means Telstra is well placed to support a future where this technology can become a reality.”

The Victorian government said that tests will be conducted on metropolitan and regional roads, following last year’s trials on the Lexus test track in Altona.

Funding for the project was made available through the Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program, which is managed by VicRoads and funded by the TAC as part of the Towards Zero Action Plan for road safety.

“Connected and automated vehicles will play a huge part in reducing lives lost and serious injuries on our roads – that’s why we’re getting ready to implement this technology to start making a big impact on our roads,” said the chief executive of VicRoads, Robyn Seymour.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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