Ride connected: 500 Ipswich motorists to drive next gen road tech

Ride connected: 500 Ipswich motorists to drive next gen road tech Main Image

07 August 2020

The next generation in road technology is coming to Australia, and 500 Ipswich motorists will be the first to use it.

Ipswich locals are being invited to participate in what is being dubbed Australia’s largest connected vehicle pilot, where up to 500 participants' cars will be professionally fitted with technology that allows vehicles to "talk" to each other, roadside infrastructure and road operations systems.

It’s the type of technology that will provide drivers with safety-related warnings about upcoming roadworks or crashes further up the road, as well as when driving behaviour is not conducive to a safe outcome, such as stopping in time for a red light.

Assistant Minister of State and Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard encouraged the community to sign up and said she wants Ipswich and Queensland to lead the way on new vehicle technology.

“We’ve got a record $23 billion for road and transport upgrades right across Queensland, supporting 21,500 jobs, as we deliver our economic plan for recovery,” Ms Howard said.

“This trial builds on our roads investment, and will tee up Ipswich and Queensland to become a hub for new vehicle technology.

“Not only do we want Queensland roads to be ready for future technologies, we want Queensland industry to be ready too and to create the jobs of the future right here.

The pilot has attracted the participation of leading vehicle manufacturer Lexus Australia, who will hand over the keys to two RX450h vehicles.

Lexus Chief Executive Scott Thompson said Lexus Australia was confident the ICVP was an ideal test bed for further developing its connected vehicle technology.

“Lexus is proud to contribute to saving lives, reducing congestion, helping the environment and making driving more enjoyable by taking these innovations in safety technology out of the laboratory and onto our roads,” Mr Thompson said.

Queensland’s Telstra Enterprise General Manager Owen Rayment said Telstra had a long-standing partnership with TMR, providing its CAVI project with 4G wireless communications technology and roadside networking equipment, which enabled pilot vehicles to communicate to the central traffic management system.

“Telstra recognises the importance of connected vehicles, whether automated or driven by humans, to help avoid collisions, protect pedestrians and cyclists and smooth traffic flow on congested roads,” Mr Rayment said.

Ipswich City Council Mayor Teresa Harding congratulated the Queensland Government and thanked the state members for choosing Ipswich.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Ipswich drivers to be closely involved in a Queensland Government initiative and to shape the future of driving in Australia,” Councillor Harding said.  

“The city of Ipswich has a long history of innovation, advanced manufacturing and technology in Queensland.

“The Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot is another great example of innovation in our region.”

Participants will see technology retrofitted into their car including a small dash-mounted screen, an external antenna and a small control box likely to be installed under a front seat.

Ms Howard said while the extra technology installed in vehicles would make them "connected", participants cars would continue to operate no differently than usual.

“There is a great opportunity for up to 500 drivers to be a part of this ground-breaking research project, enabling us to find out more about the safety benefits of connected vehicles, and how we need to prepare for them to be on Queensland Roads,” Ms Howard said.  

The trial will run between nine and 12 months, and participants will be guided through the process by project staff.

Director of CARRS-Q at QUT Professor Andry Rakotonirainy said the novel new technology would help people to drive safely, and ultimately reduce road trauma.

“Our team has conducted many tests of this new technology to ensure it will not distract drivers, but, through advance warning, it will assist them in adopting safer behaviour when driving,” Professor Rakotonirainy said.

The pilot is being delivered with the support of Motor Accident Insurance Commission, iMOVE Australia, Ipswich City Council, Telstra, QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

In response to COVID-19, several measures have been implemented to ensure the health and safety of all participants and staff involved in the pilot.

All in-person interactions have been designed in line with Queensland Government guidelines around social distancing, hygiene, and other safety measures.

To find out more, and to register your interest in being involved, visit www.qut.edu.au/research/icvp