Talking cars


Friday, 16 February, 2018


Talking cars

Around 500 private and fleet vehicles in Queensland will be retrofitted with devices that enable vehicles to talk to vehicles, infrastructure, road operations systems and cloud-based data sharing systems.

The $2.58m research project by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), the intelligent transport systems cooperative research centre iMOVE CRC and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) aims to prepare for and accelerate the emergence of cooperative technologies onto Australian roads.

This research will be conducted as part of the Queensland Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) Pilot Project, said to be Australia’s largest on-road testing trial of cooperative vehicles and infrastructure.

The large-scale, 3.5-year project will commence with the design and equipment-testing phase, with the nine-month on-road trial.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the C-ITS devices provided safety warnings about a range of conditions — for example, a pedestrian crossing at a signalised intersection, a hazard on the road or a queue ahead.

“We are testing these vehicles to help understand the implications for our infrastructure and drivers, and the improvements to automated vehicle performance when they can talk to other vehicles, infrastructure and our cloud-based data sharing systems,” Bailey said.

“These rapidly developing technologies have potential to significantly reduce crashes and associated gridlock, vehicle emissions and fuel use.

Professor Andry Rakotonirainy from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety — Queensland, which is conducting the safety evaluation component of the Pilot, said the participating vehicles will be fitted with a range of wireless and sensor technologies designed to share the vehicle’s position, speed and other data, as well as receive road and traffic data from cloud-based sharing systems.

“Validating the effectiveness of C-ITS for safer, and more efficient, transport in a real environment will be examined as part of this project, as well as analysing driver behaviour, acceptance of and willingness to use, the technology.

“By utilising real-life traffic situations, including roadworks zones, arterial roads and motorways, we have an opportunity to consider if the system operates in the way it is intended, and does it result in the desired behaviour responses for all drivers,” said Professor Rakotonirainy.

iMOVE CRC Managing Director Ian Christensen said the newly established cooperative research centre was delighted to be working with TMR, QUT and other stakeholders on such a promising field trial.

“Over the next decade, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity will enable the development of a smarter and more productive transport system in Australia and worldwide,” he said.

“This will make it safer and easier for people to move around, as well as boost productivity for business and industry.”

As a part of the project, the following C-ITS safety technologies will be tested: emergency electronic brake light warning (V2V) — alerts drivers to a cooperative vehicle braking hard some distance ahead; stopped or slow vehicle warnings (V2V) — alerts drivers of an impending rear-end collision with another cooperative vehicle ahead of them; turning warning for vulnerable road users (V2I) — alerts drivers to pedestrians or bicycles crossing at an upcoming intersection; advanced red light warning (V2I) — alerts drivers if it’s likely that they’ll drive through a red light ahead, unless they brake; road works warning (V2I) — alerts drivers to upcoming roadworks, giving them time to slow down or change lanes; in-vehicle speed warning (V2I) — provides drivers with information about active, static or variable speed limits. It then alerts them if they are exceeding the speed limit; back-of-queue warning (motorways) (V2I) — provides drivers with information about an upcoming traffic queue; and road hazard warning (V2I) — alerts drivers to upcoming hazards, such as water on the road, road closures or a crash.

The evaluation findings will be used by transport agencies (local, state and federal) to support the investment of infrastructure both digital and physical that supports the emerging C-ITS need.

The C-ITS Pilot project is part of the larger Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI) being delivered by TMR to help prepare for the arrival of new vehicle technologies with safety, mobility and environmental benefits on Queensland roads. The CAVI project will also include the testing of a small number of cooperative and highly automated vehicles on South East Queensland roads, as well as investigate options for using these emerging technologies to benefit pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.

The iMOVE CRC is a consortium of 44 industry, government and research partners engaged in a concerted 10-year effort to improve Australia’s transport systems through collaborative research and development projects.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/sittinan

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