Illustration of future driverless cars

Our research is navigating a safe future for self-driving cars

An idea developed by the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR) is steering us towards self-driving cars that talk to one another.

Rather than using GPS technology, this innovative software notification system – called V2X – lets vehicles constantly communicate with other vehicles around them, along with ‘smart’ city infrastructure. That way, they can position themselves with pinpoint accuracy and cooperate to avoid collisions, cutting road fatalities and reducing congestion.

Cohda Wireless, a spin-off from UniSA, has developed technology for vehicles to “talk” to each other and interact with infrastructure.

This breakthrough results from a partnership formed in 2004 between our commercial arm, UniSA Ventures, and Cohda Wireless. UniSA supported the fledgling company’s development of V2X technology through funding, researchers and testing facilities - a perfect example of how academia can collaborate with private enterprise and bring intellectual property to market.

V2X modules have already undergone 18,000 kilometres of testing by Audi, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, TomTom and Toyota. Back home, Cohda is also a key partner in the SA Government’s Future Mobility Lab. In 2015, this yielded the Southern Hemisphere’s first self-driving car trials, followed by an Australian first with Cohda and Telstra successfully demonstrating vehicle-to-pedestrian location technology using Telstra’s mobile network.

Today, Cohda is a world leader in connected autonomous vehicle technology with over 600 customers and six offices globally. Enticingly, this industry could be worth $90 billion by 2030. And it’s an SA business right in the driver’s seat.