Australian telecommunications and media company Telstra has conducted a successful trial of vehicle to pedestrian technology, which aims to alert road users to imminent danger via their mobile phones.
The results could provide a solution to the very modern problem of ‘smart phone zombies’. According to a survey by the AA last year, 75% of drivers have seen pedestrians wander into the road as they concentrate on a digital device.
In a blog post, the company’s chief technology officer, Håkan Eriksson, said the firm can now demonstrate how vehicles can interact directly with pedestrians’ and cyclists’ mobiles, providing early-warning collision detection and alerts via an app.
He said: ‘Telstra is investing in developing technology that will make road users safer by helping cars communicate with the things around them.
‘It’s called Vehicle-to-Pedestrian technology and we think that it can help reduce the number of accidents by alerting road users to imminent danger, facilitating real-time communication over the mobile network.’
Mr Eriksson said Telstra tested the technology using ‘some common scenarios that occur every day’ – a car and a cyclist approaching a blind corner, a car reversing out of a driveway, and a car approaching a pedestrian crossing.
He said it represented the first Australian trial of the technology and followed vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to vehicle trials as part of Telstra’s vehicle to everything (V2X) project.
Mr Eriksson conceded that with more testing planned, ‘the full roll out and commercialisation of the technology is still a little way off’.
The trial was carried out in partnership with Cohda Wireless and the South Australian Government.
Cohda Wireless CEO Paul Gray said the trial highlighted the potential impact of V2X technology. He said: ‘Giving vehicles 360-degree situational awareness and sharing real-time driving information is the only way we can create safer roads for the future.’
Separately, Telstra announced that it had launched a trial of a driverless vehicle in Sydney Olympic Park in collaboration with the New South Wales Government and other partners.
The firm said it is already actively exploring autonomous and connected technology on several fronts to understand the challenges and opportunities involved.