Codha wireless CEO Paul Gray and chief technical officer Professor Paul Alexander. (ABC News: Isadora Bogle)
An Australian-first demonstration of self-driving vehicles has been conducted on the streets of the Adelaide CBD today, in a bid to prove the potential for the technology to make Australian streets safer.
- A driverless car demonstration has hit the streets of Adelaide CBD today
- The connected autonomous cars were developed by Cohda Wireless
- The company says the trial showcased how the vehicles can ‘talk to each other’
The State Government blocked off roads bordered by Flinders and Wakefield streets this morning, to test autonomous vehicles and the way they interact with other cars on the road.
Adelaide-based company Cohda Wireless — a global leader in wireless technology — conducted the testing which connects cars to other vehicles even when they are not in line of sight.
Cohda Wireless’ chief technical officer, Paul Alexander said the demo allowed the company to showcase its Vehicle to Everything technology (V2X).
The demonstration was conducted in the city as the company wanted to test the vehicles in a city environment where wireless navigation systems are often impacted.
Earlier this year the Adelaide-based company took ownership two specially-modified Lincoln MKZ vehicles from the USA that it is using in advanced trials.
The two sedans have been fitted with the company’s world-leading software that allows them to communicate with each other and communicate with transport infrastructure such as traffic lights.
He said the test drive this morning demonstrated how the vehicles could connect to each other and avoid collision situations.
“We demonstrated that when vehicles are connected to each other using our smart V2X technology,” he said.
He said that during the demonstration a connected autonomous vehicle and a vehicle controlled by a human had approached a red light intersection, with one of the vehicles failing to adhere to the red light.
But the V2X technology had allowed the two vehicles to “identify” each other.
“This allows the connected autonomous vehicle to pre-emptively identify and respond to the threat by slowing down and stopping,” he said.
“Cohda’s V2X technology allows vehicles to ‘speak to each other’ to extend their perception horizon.”
Potential for transport industry
Professor Alexander said the city trial showcased how easily the vehicles could react to each other, which could potentially diminish the risk of human error in the future.
“The technology provides the vehicle with an awareness of its environment and risk factors associated with it, consistently and accurately up to 10 times per second, enabling it to make decisions that a human being would not be capable of making as the driver of the vehicle,” he said.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said the State Government wanted to show the community what the latest technology could add to the transport industry.
“We want to show South Australians that this can be part of our public and private transport future,” he said.
“Trials like this are extremely important to get that message across.
“What’s exciting is that over the next year when we undertake these trials, we’re going to gather a lot more information and get a much better understanding of how this fits into our public transport network.”
Further trials of the vehicles are expected to take place over the next few months.