Lexus will run a high-tech road safety project in Australia which will use connected-vehicle technology to reduce road trauma. The 2-year trial is being carried out in collaboration with telecom company Telstra and the government of the state of Victoria.

The Victorian Government is backing the trial through a grant program that supports the development of vehicles with connected and automated technology and safety features.

Known as the Advanced Connected Vehicles Victoria (ACV2) trial, it will test cellular-based communications technology designed to reduce traffic accidents while managing traffic flow to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and emissions.

Two specially-equipped Lexus RX 450h SUVs will be fitted with sensitive equipment that will enable them to communicate with each other and with roadside infrastructure, using new features of the 4G cellular network.

The SUVs are already equipped with advanced safety features such as automated lane-keeping, autonomous emergency braking and a forward collision warning system which are available to customers.

Additional vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle-to-network technologies to be trialled with the two vehicles are an emergency electronic brake light which alerts drivers to another vehicle that is braking hard some distance ahead. There’s also an in-vehicle speed warning system which provides drivers with information about active, static or variable speed limits.

A Right-turn Assist feature (shown above) will alert drivers to pedestrians or bicycles crossing at an upcoming intersection, while the Red-light Violator Warning can determine that another co-operative vehicle is likely to ignore a red light and alert the driver that it will cut across their path at an intersection ahead.

Although all Lexus vehicles have electronic stability control systems to help the driver maintain control if the car skids or is about to go into a spin in a corner, it is still necessary to drive at an appropriate speed. To assist the driver, there is a Curve Speed Warning system which will display an advisory speed limit when a vehicle is approaching a curve in the road where the speed needs to be reduced due to certain conditions.

Rear-end collisions often occur on highways as drivers may not be aware of a vehicle ahead having stopped or is travelling too slowly. Due to their approach at high speed from directly behind, they may not realise the dangerous situation. A Slow/stopped Vehicle warning will alert them to this so they can take the appropriate action to avoid the vehicle or adjust their speed.

Commenting on the project, Lexus Australia’s CEO, Scott Thompson, said: “The role of Lexus as an innovator and leader in the development of advanced safety and traffic-management technologies is central to our parent company’s global vision to reduce traffic fatalities to zero.”

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[Chips Yap]

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