New system turns cars into networking nodes

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New system turns cars into networking nodes

A new radio system developed in Australia allows cars to be used as network nodes, allowing them to communicate with each other about road conditions and with a head office on positioning.

The Dedicated Short Range Communications system, developed by scientists at the University of Southern Australia's Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR), uses a combination of GPS and Wi-Fi.

Cars fitted with the units can communicate location data via external Wi-Fi points to an office, something that would be very useful in managing fleet vehicles and distribution networks.

However, the Wi-Fi can also offer communication between cars. For example, if one car encounters an accident, it can relay that data to other cars, warning the drivers and advising them to divert.

"Onboard processing units assess the risk of an accident and provide advice to the driver," said Professor Alex Grant of the ITR. "This technology essentially equips vehicles with the ability to see around corners and predict and avoid dangerous situations."

The technology was developed by Cohda Wireless, a spin-off company from the University, and 700 field trials have been carried out in the US, Italy and Australia. The technology should be in wide release by 2012.

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