Driver error remains a key factor in road death and trauma. But what if the cars we drive ‘talked’ to each other, were aware when the other was near and, more importantly, when approaching on a collision course?
This active safety technology is closer than you think; in fact it’s here.
More to the point, the US Government’s Department of Transportation has announced that it wants to speed up the introduction of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication in light vehicles.
And that is good news for Australian technology company Cohda Wireless.
The South Australian-based operation has been the key provider of the intelligent V2V wireless devices used in a Michigan USA Safety Pilot Model Deployment Study, begun in 2012.
Vehicles fitted with the Cohda Wireless V2V systems can ‘talk’ to each other and exchange basic safety data, such as speed, position and projected path, ten times per second.
It can then warn drivers about hazards, such as an impending collision at a blind intersection, during a lane change, while passing another vehicle on a two lane road, or when a vehicle has stopped ahead.
Intelligent Transport Systems Australia (ITS Australia) CEO, Susan Harris, said the announcement by the US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pivotal in taking road safety to the next level.
“Australia’s innovative ITS industry is at the forefront of the V2V technology proven in this Safety Pilot Model Deployment Study. We are also international leaders in other intelligent transport systems technologies.
“V2V technology is the next major step forward (in road safety). This active safety system enables real-time communication between vehicles to help avoid collisions in the first place,” Ms Harris said.
The Michigan study involved almost 3,000 cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles equipped with 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radios.
The NHTSA is now finalising the analysis of the data from this study.
It will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices to be fitted to new vehicles from a future date.
This announcement by the US Department of Transportation will give a push to V2V development and speed its introduction to the market.
For South Australia’s Cohda Wireless, and for Australia’s technology sector generally, this is welcome news. God knows, we need some.
TMR Managing Editor