Telstra and Lexus announce trial of 4G car safety communication tech

Telstra, Lexus Australia, and the Victorian government will trial 4G car safety communication technologies that allow cars to 'talk' to each other.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Telstra, in partnership with Lexus Australia and the Victorian government, announced on Friday that it will be trialling new car safety communication technologies .

The Victorian government backed the trial, titled Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria, by awarding a AU$3.5 million grant to support the development of vehicles with connected and automated technology and safety features.

The trial will deploy two Lexus vehicles equipped with Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, and use a specialised link on Telstra's mobile network allowing the vehicles to communicate with each other beyond the distance of short-range radio.

According to a blog post by Telstra chief technology officer Hakan Eriksson, "C-V2X is technology that lets cars talk to each other, and the environment around them, via 4G mobile networks, and via direct short-range wireless links".

"For instance, if a trial vehicle ahead performs an emergency brake, it will send this message to a V2X-equipped car following -- potentially before a forward collision radar or driver notices the event. In these situations, mere milliseconds can make a huge difference."

(Image: Telstra)

The car safety systems that will be trialled using C-V2X includes emergency braking alerts, in-vehicle speed limit compliance warnings, right-turn assist for vulnerable road users, and warnings when surrounding vehicles are likely to violate a red light.

Previous trials in Australia of car safety communication technologies had only used Wi-Fi 802.11p for short range communications.

The new trial will make use of short range 5.9 GHz radios based on advanced 4G cellular V2X technology, and will have a pathway and compatibility to future 5G solutions.

Earlier this year, Telstra CEO Andy Penn told ZDNet that Telstra was looking to push autonomous vehicles in Victoria.

His comments followed the Australian Communications and Media Authority in January unveiling new regulations that supported the rollout of driverless vehicles in Australia.

With Australia moving towards "smart" vehicles, Eriksson said that "[Telstra] are investing in developing cooperative intelligent transport technologies that will make road users safer by helping cars communicate with the things around them".

Over the last couple of years, Telstra has increasingly placed more resources towards the driving market in Australia, having conducted autonomous car trials in South Australia and acquiring GPS and telematics fleet-management solutions provider MTData last year.

"The strength of our 4G network and future 5G network will allow faster adoption of technologies such as this -- ultimately helping make our roads a safer place," Eriksson added.

Telstra last month achieved the first live 5G connection in Australia which used a commercial 5G chipset and a smartphone that were made in partnership with Ericsson and Qualcomm.

The telco also announced this month that it connected its first 5G customer, which used the new HTC 5G Hub that was unveiled last week.

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