Intelligent Transport Systems Australia (ITS Australia) has commented on the United States Government announcement that it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles.
ITS Australia chief executive officer Susan Harris said the announcement by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pivotal in taking road safety to the next level.
“Passive safety products, such as seat belts and air bags that protect people in a crash, have greatly reduced road trauma,” said Susan Harris. “V2V technology is the next major step forward. This active safety system enables real-time communication between vehicles to help avoid collisions in the first place.”
US DOT secretary Anthony Foxx said V2V technology has the potential to avoid 70 to 80 per cent of crashes that involve unimpaired drivers. The DOT approval follows almost a decade of testing and a rigorous Safety Pilot Model Deployment study begun in 2012 in Michigan, involving almost 3,000 cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles equipped with 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radios.
This technology improves safety by allowing vehicles to ‘talk’ to each other and exchange basic safety data, such as speed, position and projected path, ten times per second. The DOT announcement includes ‘multiple layers of security and privacy protection’.
The NHTSA is now finalising the analysis of the data from this study. NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year, consistent with applicable legal requirements, executive orders, and guidance. DOT believes that the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market penetration of V2V safety applications.
Australian ITS leadership
Adelaide company Cohda Wireless is a key provider of the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) V2V wireless devices used in the USA Safety Pilot Model Deployment study. The radios warn drivers about specific hazards, such as an impending collision at a blind intersection, during a lane change, while passing another vehicle on a two lane road, or a vehicle stopped ahead. The Michigan project is also testing vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems.
“Australia’s innovative ITS industry is at the forefront of the V2V technology proven in this Safety Pilot Model Deployment study. We are also international leaders in other intelligent transport systems technologies,” said Susan Harris.
Intelligent Transport Cooperative Research Centre
To capitalise on and grow the advanced capabilities of the local ITS industry, ITS Australia is working with the local ITS industry, led by the University of South Australia, to establish an Intelligent Transport Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to drive further research.
The charter for the Intelligent Transport CRC will be to deliver major benefits to Australia in terms of safety, sustainability, productivity and industry development. Among the key themes for research are:
Transport systems and infrastructure across different modes (including rail, public and private road vehicles).
Intelligent Connected Vehicles.
Transition and implementation towards a smart, connected transport network.
Safety and efficiency gains from smart transport systems are immense. In addition, the CRC will seek to ensure efficient pathways as, for example, the reliance on physical roadside signs reduces in preference to advice directly communicated to the driver in the vehicle.
The CRC will also consider important legacy systems taking account of the needs of all road users, including groups such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Susan Harris said a CRC will ensure that Australia continues to be a leader in the competitive high technology international transport market. “The fact that we have the skills and drive for innovation is proven by the fact that creative Australian businesses are producing world’s best practice ITS solutions – and are achieving significant exports,” she said.
“In addition, safety will also greatly benefit from CRC research work. Whilst it continues to reduce thanks to improved passive safety equipment and active innovations such as electronic stability control, the road death toll in Australia in 2013 was 1,193 down from 1,298 the year previously.
“This tragedy costs the nation an estimated $27 billion a year and causes incalculable personal grief and trauma. Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems that communicate with each other, such as Vehicle–to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, will take safety intervention from helping people to survive crashes to the next level of avoiding crashes.
“A well-funded CRC will also facilitate a smooth transition and implementation pathway for Australia to move forward with its national program to implement intelligent transport systems. In addition to safety, the pay back to the community and businesses will be improved environmental and productivity performance, as well as wide ranging industry development opportunities.
“The DOT secretary Foxx said ‘The potential of this technology is absolutely enormous’ and gave the green light for the use of V2V devices in future vehicles. Australia must keep pace with this important international development.
“A CRC focused on smart transport will deliver significant benefits to the industry, the national economy and the community at large. There are compelling reasons why the Intelligent Transport CRC must become a reality and there is strong support for it across Australia’s transport industry and from transport users,” said Susan Harris.
To learn more about the Intelligent Transport CRC, visit www.intelligenttransportcrc.com.