Driverless car trial greenlit for Adelaide CBD
The South Australian Government has granted autonomous vehicle technology company Cohda Wireless permission to trial driverless cars on city streets for the first time, a year after receiving a $2 million grant to purchase, fit out and test two cars on Adelaide’s city streets and other urban roads.
In June this year, Cohda Wireless took ownership of two specially modified Lincoln MKZ sedans from the United States, which it is using in advanced trials of its V2X (vehicle-to-everything) technology. The company’s V2X and V2X-Locate technology allows vehicles to communicate with each other and road infrastructure in a city environment where ‘urban canyons’ significantly affect the ability of systems reliant on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to achieve accurate positioning.
The sedans have been fitted with Cohda Wireless software and V2X onboard units and an array of gadgets and devices to enable them to drive autonomously. The vehicles will also have the ability to communicate with each other and transport infrastructure such as traffic lights.
The authorised trial period runs until 30 June 2020 and will be limited to a defined city block in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. Under the conditions of the gazetted notice, the cars must be right-hand drive, the trial area must be cleared of vehicle and pedestrian traffic before it can commence and at least 28 days’ notice must be given ahead of each proposed trial.
“These vehicles will be deployed in a series of trials and demonstrations over the next two years, some of which will take place in the Adelaide CBD, but it must be noted that in all instances, the activity will take place within controlled environments,” said Cohda Wireless’s Chief Technical Officer, Professor Paul Alexander.
“The vehicles will not be deployed in autonomous mode on our roads alongside everyday traffic at any time but in specially designated areas that have been sealed off to other traffic and pedestrians to ensure safety of all road users.
In addition to this trial, Cohda Wireless is an industry partner in a $4 million driverless shuttle project, which commenced in South Australia’s Tonsley Innovation District earlier this year. The company’s V2X-Radar technology has also been trialled in a closed session on a highway on the outskirts of Adelaide.
“The ultimate purpose of the initiative is to contribute to a future with safer roads by connecting vehicles with each other in a more cooperative transport environment,” Prof Alexander said.
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