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The Andrews Labor Government is making an investment in the expanding connected and automated vehicle market with the announcement of a $3.5 million grant to Telstra and Lexus Australia to run Australia’s first connected vehicle field trial using advanced 4G mobile networks.

The Telstra/Lexus trial will allow cars to connect directly to each other and, through cloud servers, to traffic management centres and other services using “Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X)” technology.

“Victoria is leading the nation in connected and automated vehicles – this technology will be vital to making our roads safer for all Victorians,” Minister for Roads and Road Safety Jaala Pulford said.

Cellular V2X is a new version of 4G, customised for connected vehicles rather than mobile phones.

As part of the Labor Government’s $9 million Towards Zero Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants Program Telstra, Lexus Australia, VicRoads and TAC will better understand this life-saving technology, with a view to making it available on production vehicles in coming years.

“We’re thrilled to be supporting this revolutionary technology project to better understand its potential to save lives and improve safety on our roads,” VicRoads Acting Director Road User and Vehicle Access James Soo said.

The grant has been awarded to develop, test and research Lexus vehicles fitted with Cellular V2X technology, as well as advanced driver assist features including crash warning systems and lane keeping assist.
Initial trials will begin on Victorian test tracks later this month, with on-road trials set to begin in 2019.

“New technologies, like those being trialled, offer exciting opportunities to further improve road safety and increase our understanding of what Victoria needs to do to prepare for connected and automated vehicles,” Transport Accident Commission Director Road Safety Samantha Cockfield said.

The grant program is managed by VicRoads and the TAC through the Towards Zero Action Plan to support industry to research a range of on-road initiatives to benefit road safety on metropolitan and regional roads.

“We are delighted to have the Victorian Government’s support for this innovative technology project which enables Telstra and Lexus Australia to be among the first to trial this world-leading technology to make our roads safer and less congested,” Telstra Chief Technology Officer Hakan Eriksson said.

“Lexus Australia is proud to work with Telstra and the Victorian Government on this important and progressive program to improve road safety,” Lexus Australia Chief Executive Scott Thompson said.