Lexus has signed a two-year deal with the Queensland Government that will see a pair of talking cars take to the streets of the Sunshine state.

Not only do the cars talk to each other but can also communicate with traffic lights.

Now that’s something worth talking about.

The trial is designed to showcase advanced technologies that improve road safety and reduce congestion, fuel consumption and emissions.

Two Lexus RX 450h F Sport SUVs have been specially modified with sensitive equipment that enables them to communicate with each other and with roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights, as part of a two-year trial.

The study into cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) technologies will see the SUVs provide drivers with early warnings, including visual and audible alerts, covering a wide range of road and traffic conditions.

They will include alert drivers to road hazards or the existence of a crash ahead, as well as information that vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists are at a connected intersection.

Information will be shared between vehicles and infrastructure using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology which transmits safety information using radio waves.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said working with Lexus Australia would provide an opportunity to demonstrate to road users the safety related benefits of cooperative and connected vehicle technologies.

“Having Lexus Australia select Queensland as a location for their first connected vehicle testing sends a strong message to the vehicle industry that Queensland values the potential safety benefits of these technologies, and is ready for their introduction,” he said.

“These vehicles, which will connect to each other and to infrastructure, will also be capable of recording data and visual information for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of the trial, understanding user acceptance of the technology, and identifying problems.

Mount Cotton Driver Training Centre  and the Ipswich Connected Vehicle Pilot test bed will be used for some of the tests over 2019 and 2020,.

Additional vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technologies to be added to the two vehicles are:

  • Emergency electronic brake light: Alerts drivers to a cooperative vehicle that is braking hard some distance ahead.
  • Slow/stopped vehicle: Warns the driver when a vehicle ahead is stopped or travelling slower, and there is a risk of rear-end collision.
  • Advanced red-light warning: Alerts drivers that they likely to violate the red light unless they apply the brakes.
  • Turn warning – vulnerable road user: Alerts drivers that a pedestrian or cyclist has pushed a signal call button and are crossing during the permitted phase.
  • Road hazard warning: Alerts drivers to hazards, such as debris or water on the road, or a crash.
  • Back-of-queue warning: Alerts drivers to a downstream queue on motorways using the Managed Motorways automated back-of-queue algorithm.
  • In-vehicle speed warning: Provides drivers with information about active, static or variable speed limits.
  • Road works warning: Notifies drivers approaching or driving through roadworks zones, providing speed information and alerting them if they are exceeding roadworks speed limits.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.