Victoria trials talking cars

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 05 July 2019

Vehicles that can communicate with the roads might help reduce collisions.   

Imagine a time where cars can communicate with each other and with road infrastructure to avoid accidents, improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

That time is fast approaching as a high-tech study, jointly run by Lexus, Telstra, VicRoads and TAC, moves into its on-road testing phase. 

The Advanced Connected Vehicles (ACV2) trial involves two Lexus RX450h F Sport SUVs fitted out with specialist equipment designed to warn the driver of potentially dangerous situations.

It uses cellular technology to relay critical safety information between the vehicles and VicRoads’ traffic management infrastructure, such as variable speed signs, traffic lights and intersection camera systems. 

Lexus cars for connected vehicles trial

For now, the trial vehicles are relying on the 4G network with technology customised for connected vehicles rather than mobile phones. But Telstra says the new 5G will provide much greater scope in the future.

After extensive development and testing at the Lexus test track in Altona, the trial has now moved to on-road testing around the city and on country roads.

The trial focuses on five potentially dangerous situations: when another car is about to run a red light, when a pedestrian or cyclist is crossing a road that the vehicle is about to turn into, when a vehicle ahead stops suddenly, when a vehicle ahead around a blind corner stops or is travelling slowly, and when conditions warrant a speed warning such as an advisory speed limit.  

The system provides drivers with an earlier warning of danger, allowing more time to react to a situation. It does not operate or change any of the active safety features already built into the vehicle.

As well as the obvious benefits of reducing accidents and road trauma, the connected vehicle technology is also expected to aid smoother traffic flow, ease congestion, lower fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

While this is another welcome step into the future, there is no indication at this stage of when the connected vehicle technology will be available on the market.