Telstra and Lexus Australia have won a $3.5 million grant from the Victorian government to run a field trial of 4G-based connected vehicle technology.
The funding is part of the state government’s Towards Zero Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program.
The trial will use ‘cellular vehicle to everything’ (C-V2X) technology, employing Telstra’s mobile network and Lexus vehicles.
The government said that trials on test tracks will begin this month, with on-road tests expected to begin next year.
Tests will involve two equipped Lexus 450h F Sport SUVs fitted with C-V2X technology.
Telstra and Lexus expect to assess a variety of connected vehicle systems, including emergency braking alerts, in-vehicle speed limit compliance warnings, right-turn assist for vulnerable road users and warnings when a nearby vehicle is deemed likely to violate a red light.
“For instance, if a trial vehicle ahead performs an emergency brake, it will send this message to a V2X-equipped car following — potentially before a forward collision radar or driver notices the event,” Telstra CTO Håkan Eriksson wrote in a blog entry. “In these situations, mere milliseconds can make a huge difference.”
“We’ll also be investigating other applications, such as how to securely send speed zone, traffic light timing, and other signals to cars so all this information can be available just-in-time and help prevent road trauma,” the CTO wrote.
According to Eriksson, previous Australian connected vehicle trials have employed Wi-Fi-like 802.11p technology for communications.
“This trial will be the first in Australia to make use of the very latest short-range 5.9 GHz radios based on advanced 4G Cellular V2X technology — with a pathway and compatibility to future 5G solutions too,” the CTO wrote.
The vehicles will support both short-range cellular connections for vehicle to vehicle communication as well as employing Telstra’s 4G network when coverage is available.
Telstra has previously argued that Australia lags behind Europe and North America when it comes to trialling connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
“Policies and incentives are urgently required to facilitate trials, gain community acceptance and to adapt the legal and regulatory framework to support and accelerate the introduction of AVs [autonomous vehicles] into Australia,” the company argued in early 2017.
“We are delighted to have the Victorian government’s support for this innovative technology project which enables Telstra and Lexus Australia to be among the first to trial this world-leading technology to make our roads safer and less congested,” Eriksson said in a statement released today.
In 2016, Telstra partnered with Cohda Wireless for a trial involving ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ (V2I) communications using its 4G network.