Cohda Wireless’ two Lincoln MKZ sedans that will be trialled in Adelaide this month. (Supplied: Cohda Wireless)
Driverless car technology that can “talk to traffic lights” and sense pedestrians around a blind corner will be tested on Adelaide roads this month.
- Two driverless cars will take to the Adelaide roads in an Australian first
- The technology has been developed by Cohda Wireless
- It aims to transform cities and highways and improve safety
In a showcase of what the future of transport could look like, the Australian-first trial of two driverless Lincoln MKZ sedans will take place in the Adelaide CBD in late October.
Parts of the CBD will be blocked off as part of the trial.
Chief executive officer of Cohda Wireless Dr Paul Gray said the South Australian Government had given the green light for the trial, which would allow the company to showcase its world-leading technology.
He said it meant the two driverless cars would be able to communicate with each other and even with traffic lights.
“Cohda is the world leader in this V2X technology and essentially the V2X is vehicle to everything or an amalgam of vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“And even vehicle-to-pedestrian communication, which essentially allows the vehicles to talk to each other or talk to traffic lights.”
Vehicles could ‘transform cities and highways’
Dr Gray said the technology that was being developed was so advanced that the vehicles could also sense other vehicles, objects and even pedestrians in the area.
“A pedestrian around a blind corner or a car behind a parked truck or even another car approaching over a crest or a hill,” he said.
“So that you can be aware of the other road users around you even if the driver can’t see them.”
The company also provided the connectivity for the first on-road trial of an autonomous shuttle at the Tonsley Innovation District in June this year.
Technology being introduced around the world
Cars with driverless features are already on the road in Australia, but fully-autonomous cars are still a way off.
Despite this, Dr Gray said the technology had come a long way.
“Whilst these completely autonomous, sit-in-the-backseat cars may be a long way off in the future, there is some early stage autonomy being introduced into the market,” he said.
“In the US for example, there’s a lot of commercial activity in truck platooning, this is essentially the technology that would allow trucks to follow each other at a closer following distance by having the vehicles communicating with each other all the time.”
While the conversation around driverless vehicles often involves safety, Dr Gray said the aim of the technology was to reduce the chance of human error.
“This is really the goal of autonomous vehicles, is to make the vehicle safer and really just reduce the number of people that are dying on the road anyway just due to human error,” he said.
“If we can get that number down I think there’s going to be a net benefit.”