Australian technology companies look to be well placed in what could become the future of road safety for light vehicles. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have recently announced that the US will begin taking steps to facilitate the introduction of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology.
V2V technology allows vehicles to “talk” to each other by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed, position and projected path, every tenth of a second. US DOT secretary, Anthony Fox, suggested that this technology has the potential to eliminate 70 to 80% of crashes involving unimpaired drivers. The technology can also be used for vehicle-to-infrastructure communication such as traffic lights and even road works.
The approval comes after almost 10 years of testing, supported by a Pilot Study that commenced in Michigan in 2012, involving approximately 3,000 cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles equipped with dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) radios. The radios feed data to an on-board computer which can then warn drivers about impending collisions that might occur at intersections, during lane changes, overtaking on two-lane roads or with vehicles stopped ahead. The data is still being analysed by the NHTSA, but it is expected that regulations will soon be introduced that will require V2V technology in new vehicles.
Adelaide-based Cohda Wireless was a key provider of the V2V wireless devices that were utilised in the Pilot Study, which makes them well-poised to take advantage of the potential growth in the approved technology. Codha Wireless is working with the University of South Australia on the first field trial in Australia called Connectsafe. For a quick explanation of the technology, see this short video on the Connectsafe pilot.