Lexus has expanded its leadership in advanced safety by taking a pivotal role in a high-tech connected-vehicle trial focused on reducing road trauma and improving traffic management. New technology under test is designed to provide alerts to drivers about potentially dangerous situations, such as when another vehicle on an intersecting road is likely to run a red light or when vehicles further down the road have stopped suddenly.
In addition to road-safety benefits, the connected-vehicle technologies can also promote smoother traffic flow, helping alleviate congestion and reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The trial involves two Lexus RX 450h F Sport SUVs which, due to their size and capabilities, form an ideal platform to test cooperative intelligent transport systems using cellular vehicle-to-everything technology.
Specialised equipment fitted to the vehicles adds to their capabilities by enabling them to relay critical safety information between each other and networks at super-high speed in situations where every millisecond counts. The cars – like every new Lexus on sale in Australia – are equipped as standard with Lexus active safety systems that can help avoid collisions or mitigate the effects of an accident in a wide range of situations.
Following on-track development and testing at the Lexus test track in the Melbourne suburb of Altona, testing will now occur on Victorian roads. The ground-breaking study brings together the Lexus connected vehicle services department along with VicRoads, the Transport Accident Commission and Telstra.
Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said, “This vital project is all about saving as many lives as we can as soon as we can and making the experience of driving more fun as we make it safer. It is part of our company’s global commitment and dedication to safety first and our pursuit of a global vision to lower traffic fatalities to zero and to reduce congestion, emissions and fuel consumption. The essence of this connected-vehicle trial is about amplifying our ability as drivers, combining and coordinating the skills and strengths of the human and the machine – a seamless blend that extracts the best from both.”
The two Lexus SUVs are trialling five new connected applications, including an emergency electronic brake-light warning. Using vehicle-to-vehicle communications, it alerts the driver when another vehicle – some distance ahead and potentially out of sight – is braking hard. An in-vehicle speed warning provides information on speed limits, including variable signs. This also includes advisory limits when a vehicle is approaching a curve where speed needs to be reduced, such as in adverse conditions.
Another situation where connected-vehicle technology can help promote safety is by using a video sensor at an intersection to alert the driver when pedestrians or cyclists are crossing the road. The technology can alert drivers to imminent danger at traffic lights, offering the ability to detect if a vehicle is likely to run a red light and alert a vehicle approaching on the intersecting road. This advanced safety and communications study can also alert the driver to the risk of a collision when a vehicle on the road ahead is stopped or travelling slowly, even around corners or over crests in the road.