25 March 14

Australian car to car communications innovation sees global success

South Australian vehicle technology company Cohda Wireless is set to become one of the main players in the burgeoning vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications industry with the US Department of Transportation (DoT) allowing the technology to be used on American roads in light vehicles.

The RoadLINK device was engineered in Adelaide by Cohda, in collaboration with Netherlands company NXP Semiconductors, and is expected to improve road safety by allowing vehicles to talk to each other and to infrastructure. The device is designed to assist in crashes, such as those involving two or more vehicles, by exchanging data like a car’s speed and position up to 10 times per second.

Cohda's chief technical officer Paul Alexander in a car fitted
with Cohda technology. Photo: Cohda

The chipset has a range larger than 1.5km, can support a speed differential of more than 600km/h between two vehicles and can be used in non-line of sight cases such as blind corners. The chipset’s communications system also leverages reflections off other buildings or vehicles to strengthen its link and use the standard IEEE 802.11p protocol for over the air communications.

Engineer and Cohda’s chief technical officer Paul Alexander told Monitor the units transmit at below 1W and broadcast a message multiple times each second containing data such as position, speed and heading.

“This enables any car that receives this message to assess the originating vehicle for collision threat even in non-line-of-sight conditions. Cars will be able to process several hundred other vehicles simultaneously for threats,” Alexander said.

Cohda participated in a trial of their technology in the US$25 million Safety Pilot Model Deployment project by the University of Michigan, which included 2800 vehicles ­– 1500 fitted out with Cohda’s technology. The company has also been involved in trials in Europe.

The Cohda/NXP developed RoadLINK chipset is among the devices that will appear on the US DOT Qualified Products List for use in light vehicles, and is currently working on its interoperability with other suppliers of V2V tech.

“What the DoT’s announcement does for Cohda Wireless is validate the benefits of vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technology in the world's biggest economy,” Alexander said.

Vehicles manufactured with Cohda Wireless technology are expected to be on the road in the US and Germany by 2016.

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