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iMove makes its first move

Trial time: iMove and the Queensland government will kick off on-road trials of connected vehicles in Ipswich in 2019.

QLD trial to study vehicle-to-vehicle communications and different warning tech

19 Feb 2018

THE newly funded co-operative research centre focused on intelligent transport systems, iMove, will partner with the Queensland government in Australia’s largest trial of connected vehicles.

The trial will be the iMove CRC’s first project since it was granted $55 million by the federal government last year. iMove will collaborate with one of its founding partners, the Queensland department of transport and main roads.

The trial will be based in the regional Queensland city of Ipswich and will involve around 500 vehicles that will be retrofitted with dedicated short-range communications equipment so they can “talk” to other vehicles and infrastructure such as traffic lights, the traffic operations centre and local hazards such as roadworks.

A specific list of eight functions will be tested, focusing on warnings from vehicles ahead, warnings about pedestrians on intersections and alerts about changes in speed limits.

After a planning stage, the nine-month on-road trials will be conducted in 2019. The whole project is expected to last more than three years.

Queensland transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey highlighted the impact the new technologies could have on safety on Queensland roads, providing warnings about a range of factors, including pedestrian crossings, hazards on the roads or congestion ahead.

“We are testing these vehicles to help understand the implications for our infrastructure and for drivers,” Mr Bailey said.

He said the trial of connected vehicles would also assist in understanding how the performance of automated vehicles could be improved when they can communicate with other road users, and vice versa, and with infrastructure.

“These rapidly developing technologies have potential to significantly reduce crashes and associated gridlock, vehicle emissions and fuel use.”

 center imageLeft: iMove managing director Ian Christensen

The participating vehicles will be fitted with a range of wireless and sensor technologies so they can share their position, speed and other data and also receive road and traffic data, according to Andry Rakotonirainy, a professor from the Queensland University of Technology.

“Validating the effectiveness of co-operative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) for safer, and more efficient, transport in a real environment will be examined as part of this project,” he said.

In addition, the trial will analyse driver behaviour and the acceptance of, and willingness to use, the technology.

“By utilising real-life traffic situations, including roadworks zones, arterial roads and motorways, we have an opportunity to consider if the system operates in the way it is intended, and if it results in the desired behaviour responses for all drivers,” Prof. Rakotonirainy said.

iMove managing director Ian Christensen said he was pleased to be working on such a promising field trial.

“Over the next decade, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity will enable the development of a smarter and more productive transport system in Australia and worldwide.

“This will make it safer and easier for people to move around, as well as boost productivity for business and industry,” Mr Christensen said.

The Queensland government and the Queensland University of Technology are among the 43 foundation members of the iMove RC.

The Ipswich trial will test equipment designed to avoid eight specific traffic hazards.

These will include emergency electronic brake light warnings (alerts a driver that a vehicle is braking hard some distance ahead), stopped or slow vehicle ahead warning, turning warning for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists crossing at an intersection up ahead and an advanced red light warning that tells drivers they are likely to drive through a red light unless they brake.

Other functions to be tested include alerting drivers to roadworks ahead, a system that tells drivers if there are variable speed limits ahead and if they are exceeding them, warning of roadworks ahead, warning if there is a traffic queue ahead and warning if there is a hazard ahead such as water on the road or a crash scene.

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