An Australia-first trial of connected vehicles will allow cars to communicate with other vehicles, public transport and road infrastructure, paving the road toward driverless cars.
Two high-tech Lexus RX hybrids specially modified with short range and cellular communications gear can receive messages from public transport, intersections, emergency vehicles and other elements as part of the trial.
The car maker is working with dozens of government, transport and tech companies in the “Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem” technology trial in Carlton, Victoria.
Drivers will be told to make way for a tram, prepare for stopped traffic at a red light, or avoid turning down a one-way street.
It even has the potential to tell motorists with the right of way not to enter an intersection if an emergency vehicle is fast approaching.
As revealed by the Herald Sun in June, those warnings are vital for making autonomous cars work in complex urban environments.
Lexus said the tech could extend to pedestrian crossings and other areas involving vulnerable road users.
The trial will take place in a six-square-kilometre area in Carlton, Fitzroy and Collingwood, bordered by Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street, Alexandra Parade and Lygon Street.
Professor Majid Sarvi, transport engineering expert and AIMES Director, said the trial brought connected vehicles closer to reality.
“Ultimately this research aims to improve traffic network connectivity and enhance safety for all road users,” he said.
“With these connected Lexus vehicles, we hope to provide real-world evidence to put Australia at the forefront of global smart city technologies.”