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Autonomous cars take on Adelaide's urban canyons

Cohda claims the connected technology allows vehicles to pre-emptively respond to the threat of other cars approaching

The trial took place in the city's central business district, just east of Victoria Square
The trial took place in the city's central business district, just east of Victoria Square

Cohda Wireless has demonstrated its connected autonomous vehicle technology in a live trial in a city environment where satellite navigation black spots exist between high-rise buildings, so-called ‘urban canyons’.


In an area covering two city blocks in Adelaide’s central business district, the demonstration replicated a traffic scenario that the Australian company reckons is a daily occurrence on the streets of cities all over the world:


Four-way intersection


Two vehicles approach a four-way intersection at right angles to each other. Car 2, driven by a human, fails to adhere to the red-light signal and approaches the intersection at speed, intending to ‘skip’ the red light.


Car 1, a connected autonomous vehicle, is approaching the intersection from another direction and intends to proceed through the intersection on the green light. In a real-life scenario, there would be a risk of a collision as human drivers will invariably approach the intersection when the light is green, fully confident that all other road users will obey the traffic signals.


In an instance where car 2 disobeyed the traffic signal and car 1 was unable to see the approaching danger, due to visibility being obstructed by buildings or other infrastructure, a collision would be especially likely, reports Cohda.


But according to Cohda, if the vehicles were connected using its vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, a potential collision situation would be detected and avoided well in advance of it happening.


“Cohda’s V2X technology allows vehicles to ‘speak to each other’ to extend their perception horizon,” said professor Paul Alexander, chief technical officer, Cohda Wireless.


“The technology provides the vehicle with an awareness of its environment and risk factors associated with it, consistently and accurately up to 10 times per second, enabling it to make decisions that a human being would not be capable of making as the driver of the vehicle.”

“Cohda’s V2X technology allows vehicles to ‘speak to each other’ to extend their perception horizon”

He continued: “We demonstrated that when vehicles are connected to each other using our smart V2X technology, car 1, the connected autonomous vehicle, would detect that car 2 is approaching the red light at speed and is probably not going to stop. This allows the connected autonomous vehicle to pre-emptively identify and respond to the threat by slowing down and stopping.”


Cohda’s smart cars cmart city initiative was funded by the South Australian Department of Transport and Infrastructure’s Future Mobility Lab Fund.


In June this year, Cohda Wireless took ownership of two specially-modified vehicles from the US which it is using in advanced trials of its V2X technology.


The two Lincoln MKZ sedans were fitted with the advanced driver assistance systems, robot operating system, various sensors including Lidar, radar, cameras, GPS as well as in-vehicle compute platform and Cohda’s global navigation satellite system-independent positioning technology.


Cohda claims the “fusion and cooperation” of the various sensors and its V2X technology augment the vehicles’ perception capability and make the autonomous vehicles features more practical, to include threat detection, the dangers associated with blind intersections and vulnerable road users.


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