SA's Talking Cars Set to Enhance Vehicle Safety

South Australian-developed radio technology that allows cars to ‘talk’ to each other and alerts drivers to the risk of an accident, is getting closer to reality with testing taking place in Adelaide.

The world-leading technology provides warnings to drivers of potential intersection crashes, rear-end collisions and lane drift – and could be available in everyday vehicles as soon as 2012.

The technology will also enable traffic flow management and optimised route selection for drivers, reducing the costs of traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions.

Live safety demonstrations of the technology took place at an Australian Dedicated Short Range Communications (AusDSRC) industry event at the University's City West Campus in February.

Vehicle manufacturers, and state and federal government were among the industry stakeholders who saw first-hand the DSRC technology that has been developed by Kent Town-based company Cohda Wireless. Cohda Wireless was founded in 2004 by a group of scientists working at UniSA’s Institute for Telecommunications Research, and the links between UniSA and Cohda Wireless have remained strong during the development of the DSRC technology.

Director of UniSA’s Institute for Telecommunications Research, Professor Alex Grant, said DSRC is a radio technology that combines GPS and Wi-Fi like communications to effectively enable cars to talk to each other.

“On board processing units assess the risk of an accident and provide advice to the driver,” Professor Grant said.

“This technology essentially equips vehicles with the ability to see around corners and to predict and avoid dangerous situations.”

Cohda’s Chief Technology Officer Dr Paul Alexander said the fact the DSRC technology did not need line of sight to avoid accidents set it apart from other vehicle safety technologies on the market.

He said DSRC had the potential to tackle road fatalities and traffic congestion issues.

“Approximately 1500 people die on Australian roads every year – and we’re estimating that potentially half of those crashes could be avoided with the widespread use of this technology,” Dr Alexander said.

Cohda has undertaken DSRC field trials for vehicle manufacturers in the United States and Europe and hopes to start a large-scale trial in Adelaide.

For more information wathc the Connectsafe YouTube clip.