Mike Stevens | Feb 16, 2009

According to the eggheads at the University of South Australia, cars could feature short-range safety communication technology within the next four years.

Professor Alex Grant, director of the Institute for Telecommunications Research at the University of South Australia said that a team has been working on a system which uses Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology using GPS and WiFi signals to share data between vehicles.

Using this technology, the DSRC-enabled cars are able to determine the likelihood of a safety issue or a potential accident, and then alert the driver. If a crash is inevitable, the system can control and start functions like seatbelt tensioning and airbag deployment.

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Professor Grant said that the system is designed to be unobtrusive, ensuring that so long as it perceives no genuine danger, the driver will barely know it’s there.

“If there are no alerts then it’s business as usual. When alerts do happen, the system makes a judgement and the information is presented to the driver,” he said.

Field trials have been conducted already in the US and Europe, and a similar trial is planned for Adelaide.

Similar studies are currently underway at the University of Sydney, where researchers are studying the communication and interaction of ants.

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