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Australia moves another step closer to driverless vehicles

Business and Enterprise

Posted on November 14, 2018

4 min read

The Qld Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has been preparing for the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, a trial of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technologies, which will see around 500 vehicles retrofitted with C-ITS devices from late 2019.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) have embarked on an exciting project to trial Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technologies. The Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot will consider how C-ITS can makes roads and road users safer, and contribute towards a vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries on the state’s roads. As part of the Pilot, TMR will develop Australia’s first Security Credential Management System (SCMS) for C-ITS (Vehicle 2 Everything – V2X). The pilot will also act as a feasibility study, laying the technical foundations for the future generation of smart transport infrastructure.

As part of our commitment to empowering the development of connected and automated vehicle technologies in Australia, we are supplying TMR with 4G LTE data connectivity for over 500 vehicles and roadside stations, during what will be a 9-month trial commencing in late 2019.

When one imagines the potential of connected and automated cars, the first thought that springs to mind is the removal of human error which is the cause of more than 95% of road crashes. Further in the future, fully autonomous (driverless) vehicles conjure images of a driver relaxing in the front seat as their vehicle transports them to their work.

A society based on the use of autonomous vehicles on a mass scale has the capacity to unlock considerable social and economic benefits for all of us. Reducing road congestion and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the road networks will impact the current cost of $13B estimated by Infrastructure Australia as the loss of productivity due to time spent in traffic in our capital cities.

As the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot kicks off, we will see around 500 connected vehicles participating, each exchanging messages with other vehicles and external surroundings, in order to alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations. Data will be collected during the trial and will be analysed to derive insights and learnings into the safety benefits of C-ITS, to better inform future decisions about regulation, standards and technology to enable the successful deployment of connected vehicles on Australian roads.

The Ipswich Pilot is an important element of V2X technology development in Australia, which is a focus area for us.

Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said our agreement would ensure the nation’s largest trial of cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), would use the most innovate, secure high-speed communication technology available.

“Working with Telstra and several other industry supporters, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is preparing to deliver the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot from late 2019,” Mr Bailey said.

“This pilot will see about 500 vehicles retrofitted with C-ITS devices, which enables vehicles to “talk” to other vehicles as well as roadside infrastructure, road operations systems and cloud-based data sharing systems.

“These devices will share safety-related warning messages to drivers, such as an upcoming hazard, red light or congestion, enabling drivers to respond to these warnings in an informed manner.

“I am delighted Telstra will provide modems and data plans suitable for high volume C-ITS data for the 500 participating vehicles and 40 roadside stations, enabling the Ipswich Pilot to be delivered using the most advanced technology available.”

We are a leader in the V2X technology space – in July 2017 we conducted the first Australian trial of Vehicle-to-Pedestrian technology in South Australia using the mobile network, which followed our first Vehicle-to-Infrastructure trial in 2016.

Last year, we joined forces with the NSW government and a host of partners to successfully launch the first trial of driverless vehicles in Sydney’s Olympic Park. We are also a proud member of the steering committee for the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), which supports the acceleration of safe driverless vehicles onto Aussie roads.

Safety first

Beyond the brilliance that is zipping through morning traffic, automated vehicles also offer the very real potential to fundamentally change transport and society by improving our road safety.

Although the figures are steadily dropping every decade, today’s fatal five (speed, distraction, fatigue, drugs, seat belts) contributed to 6,449 serious crash casualties on Queensland roads in 2015. To put that into context, that’s 18 people every day. Further, 1,200 Australians are killed each year on our roads.

With the announcement of innovative trials like the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot, the future of connected and automated cars – and the promise of safer roads, smarter transport, and smoother rides – grows closer by the day.

Tags: 5g, IoT,