Lexus Australia will become the first automaker to join the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), a testing environment for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology.

AIMES is a collaboration of 50 government, transport and technology organisations headed by the University of Melbourne, and this trial of Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) technology will deliver crucial research for road safety .

Two RX 450h SUVs, fitted with Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) and cellular network technology, will travel around a special precinct in Carlton, Melbourne.

The vehicles can communicate with traffic lights, trams and emergency service vehicles to proactively deliver warnings and alerts of potential danger before they come into a driver’s line of sight.

The automaker will use the trial to develop applications such as warning the driver when turning in front of a tram, or warning the driver when a cyclist or pedestrian has pushed a traffic light button to cross the road, including at challenging intersections.

Further potential applications include alerts when a driver attempts to enter a one-way street or freeway entry/exit the wrong way, when an emergency vehicle is approaching and when it might not be safe to enter an intersection.

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Trialing this technology targets a reduced risk of vehicles driving through red lights, turning into trams, or being unable to see pedestrians obstructed by traffic lights and other infrastructure before they step onto the road.

Previous C-ITS trials with the Victorian and Queensland governments ended in 2020.

Those previous trials developed applications such as warning drivers of red lights ahead, pedestrians about to cross the road at traffic lights, and alerting drivers to the presence of slow or stopped vehicles, road works or road hazards such as water or debris.

Software for the new Melbourne trial was developed locally to address the city’s unique traffic environment and regulations.