Cohda Wireless autonomous cars prove powerful in world-first trial

Cohda Wireless autonomous cars prove powerful in world-first trial

Two blocks of Adelaide's CBD were closed off for the weekend, but surprisingly not for a wine and cheese festival.

Cohda Wireless, the South Australian team behind some of the most advanced developments in autonomous vehicles and connected cities, took over the Adelaide CBD to test its smart connected vehicles and push the limits of its technology.

During the trial, two vehicles approached a four-way intersection at right angles to each other. Tall buildings on each corner of the intersection obstructed the view of the other approaching car.

Car 2, driven by a human, fails to adhere to the red-light signal and approaches the intersection at speed, intending to 'run' the red light.  Car 1, a connected autonomous vehicle, is approaching the intersection from another direction and intends to proceed through the intersection on the green light.

In a real-life scenario, there would be a risk of collision as human drivers will invariably proceed through an intersection when the light is green, confident that other road users will obey the traffic signals. In an instance where Car 2 disobeys the traffic signal and Car 1 is unable to see the approaching danger, due to visibility being obstructed by buildings or other infrastructure, a collision is likely.

Cohda Wireless's Chief Technical Officer Professor Paul Alexander said vehicles connected using Cohda's V2X (Vehicle-To-Everything) technology detect the other car's movement and avoid the potential collision well in advance of it actually happening.

"We demonstrated that when vehicles are connected to each other using our smart V2X technology, Car 1, the connected autonomous vehicle, would detect that Car 2 is approaching the red light at speed and is probably not going to stop," says Alexander.

"This allows the connected autonomous vehicle to pre-emptively identify and respond to the threat by slowing down and stopping."

"Cohda's V2X technology allows vehicles to speak to each other to extend their perception horizon."

"The technology provides the vehicle with an awareness of its environment and risk factors associated with it, consistently and accurately up to 10 times per second, enabling it to make decisions that a human being would not be capable of making as the driver of the vehicle."

In June this year, Cohda took ownership of two specially modified vehicles from the United States, which it is using in advanced trials of its V2X (Vehicle-To-Everything) technology.

The two Lincoln MKZ sedans have been fitted with Cohda Wireless software and V2X on-board units and an array of gadgets and devices to enable them to drive autonomously. The vehicles also have the ability to communicate with each other and transport infrastructure such as traffic lights.

Cohda Wireless demonstrated its V2X-Locate system in a 2017 trial in New York City where it repeatedly achieved sub-metre accuracy while driving along Sixth Avenue, which has the tallest buildings in the Big Apple. Comparably tested GPS-based systems were as much as tens of metres off-course, at times showing cars driving through buildings.

In 2016, South Australia became the first state in the country to introduce laws allowing for trials of driverless cars on open public roads.

The V2X-Radar technology has also been trialled in a closed session on a highway on the outskirts of Adelaide.

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