Over the last week we trialled, in partnership with Cohda Wireless, Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology over Telstra’s 4G network in South Australia. While it sounds complex (and the technology is) what it means for Australian drivers, pedestrians and businesses is simple. Safer roads, better transport, less accidents and smoother transits. This trial was focused on Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) – an important part of V2X.

So what exactly is V2X? It’s essentially technology that lets cars talk to the environment around them via Telstra’s 4G network. The ‘environment’ around the car could be other cars and trucks, traffic lights, roadworks or even pedestrians and cyclists.

The use and development of V2X will help the creation of clever transport systems that could allow more efficient use of roads, better traffic management (ie. reduced congestion) and, in the future, coordinated and safe driverless vehicle operation.

Most importantly, it will likely lead to increased safety for road users as the impact of human error can be minimised as vehicles will be able to communicate and react to their surroundings.

While there has been a lot of focus around future transport technology, there has not been much work done to date in Australia on supporting intelligent transport systems via existing 4G mobile networks.

The trial we just completed in South Australia confirms that 4G can support these applications. These applications included alerting a driver to roadworks ahead, giving green light priority to high priority vehicles, and testing optimal green light timing where the vehicle is informed of the optimal speed to approach a traffic light so that that they get a green light when they arrive, therefore allowing a more continuous flow of traffic.

The great news is that this is only the first phase of our project with additional trial phases lined up for testing Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Vulnerable (bicycles and pedestrians). We are particularly excited about the upcoming Vehicle-to-Vulnerable testing as we will be able to showcase the Australian-first connection of 4G smartphones to intelligent transport systems to enable interaction of vehicles with smartphone-equipped bicycles.

Watch this space.