Trial for technology allowing drivers to 'see around corners'

You never know what's around the next corner. Or, if you're a driver in New South Wales, perhaps you do.

The largest and now longest trial for a brand-new traffic technology is taking place in the First State in a bid to improve road safety among drivers and company fleets.

New vehicle devices have been installed in haulage vehicles from Toll Holdings - the first transport company signed up to trial the new initiative.

Data is collected from other vehicles and roadside infrastructure and shared between programs. This allows information to be gathered on traffic and hazards up to 1 kilometre further down the road.

Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS), connect vehicles using a wireless 5.9 gigahertz frequency, designed for dedicated short-range communications. Collected data such as traffic speed, position and direction is then shared with other vehicles at a rate of ten times per second.

Fleet benefits

For fleet managers, the results of the trial will be particularly interesting in seeing how present-day technology can improve the safety of their drivers and vehicles.

The NSW government's Centre for Road Safety said the benefits are far-reaching and are expected to help fleet services by:

  • Improving traffic safety
  • Increasing response time to hazards, incidents and accidents
  • Improving management and control of the road network
  • Reducing congestion and pollution
  • Enabling shorter and more predictable journey times
  • Increasing efficiency of the public transport systems
  • Decreasing operating costs
  • Improving road network capacity
  • Increasing efficiency of logistics

The cost of fleet management

Smoother and more incident-free driving can help reduce operating costs for fleet services.

CITS could prove to lower the costs of fleet maintenance. They could also be particularly useful for creating a more agreeable insurance package for a business fleet. 

Information can also be easily implemented into the data-driven nature of fleet management services, making holistic fleet management programs an even more useful tool for managers.

Widespread CITS deployment could be seen in Australia as soon as 2015.