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Car-to-car communication trialled in SA

New smart technology that allows cars to talk to each other and avoid crashes will be trialled in South Australia.


New smart technology that allows cars to talk to each other and avoid crashes will be trialled in South Australia.

Cohda Wireless, which manufactures the dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology, said a small wireless box provided vehicles with 360-degree awareness.

"Essentially, it [DSRC] allows cars to talk to each and exchange information about their position and speed they are heading," chief executive Paul Gray told reporters in Adelaide last week.

"It then allows on-board systems to access the threat of other vehicles and bubble up [audio] warnings to the drivers."

SA Road Safety Minister Tom Kenyon said the device, which combines GPS and wireless technology, was revolutionary.

"This is a potential silver bullet in the fight against road deaths in this country," he told reporters.

Kenyon said it may help prevent tragedies such as the February death of an Adelaide mother of five killed by an Italian tourist who crashed into her while driving on the wrong side of the road.

Gabriele Cimadomo, who this week received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, called for rental cars to be fitted with reminders for foreigners to drive on the left.

Kenyon said he would eventually like to see the device installed in all cars, including rentals.

Still, he said the human element remained critical.

"The best thing a tourist can do when driving is to pay attention," he said.

"Roads don't kill people ... people's inattention causes accidents."

During the three-month trial, 100 DSRC-fitted vehicles will be tested in different conditions.

"The key part of the trial is to make sure false alarms are minimised," Gray said.

The technology was also being trialled in Germany and the US. If successful, the device could be released and retro-fitted in cars by 2015.

The company has previously demonstrated intersection collision warning, electronic brake lights and rear collision warning using DSRC. Other uses include car-to-car communication for lane change assistance and congestion reduction, and car-to-infrastructure communication for in-vehicle signage and toll collection.