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Telstra completes 4G vehicle connectivity trial


Telstra has announced completing a successful trial of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology over its 4G network, conducted in South Australia in partnership with Cohda Wireless. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology will allow vehicles to communicate with traffic lights, other vehicles, and pedestrians in future, according to Telstra, as well as the development of safe autonomous vehicles. "While there has been a lot of focus around future transport technology, there has not been much work done to date in Australia on supporting intelligent transport systems via existing 4G mobile networks," Telstra's director of Technology Andrew Scott said. "The trial we just completed in South Australia confirms that 4G can support V2I applications. These applications included alerting a driver to roadworks ahead, giving green light priority to high-priority vehicles, and testing optimal green light timing, where the vehicle is informed of the optimal speed to approach a traffic light so that that they get a green light when they arrive, therefore allowing a more continuous flow of traffic."

South Australia to legalise UberX-like services from July 1


"This will lead to greater choice and more competitive fares for customers, and fresh business opportunities for new and existing operators." Some of the changes to the state's regulatory regime will include the creation of Transport Booking Service entities to replace the current Centralised Booking Service system for taxis and to provide ride-booking services for chauffeur vehicles. The legalisation of ride-booking services comes a fortnight after the state opposition announced its intention to introduce legislation to allow the likes of UberX to operate in South Australia. Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said at the time that "ridesharing" is an opportunity to increase competition, provide more choice, and improve transport reliability and customer service to the state. "This is about giving commuters the choice they want when it comes to transport options in South Australia," he said.

NSW government to trial contactless card payments for transport system


The New South Wales government will begin trials next year to allow commuters to pay for public transport by tapping on and off with their credit and debit cards, as an alternative to using their Opal card. A Transport of NSW spokesperson told ZDNet that giving commuters the choice to pay using their Opal card, or a credit or debit card when travelling would offer them another easy-to-use and convenient option for travelling. "Contactless payments are a major advance in ticketing technology. Customers get another option for paying fares whether they are regular commuters or visitors to Sydney," the spokesperson said. With further details about the project to be announced as plans progress, the spokesperson said during the first stage of the project that the government will be working on finalising partnerships, including working with the finance and contactless payments sector, and developing software in time for the customer trial in 2017.

La Trobe University completes driverless Autonobus trial


Melbourne's La Trobe University has detailed findings of what it called successful on-campus trials of Navya's driverless "Autonobus" shuttle, which uses 360-degree cameras and sensor systems to detect objects and runs a set route based on map coordinates. A report on the trial by La Trobe and its project partners includes a number of recommendations, including further trials of the technology; considering autonomous vehicles in future infrastructure planning and investment decisions; and education and engagement of communities on autonomous vehicles. The Autonobus -- which drove students around La Trobe's Bundoora campus as part of a trial until July -- passed every test it went through, including safety, technical, operational, and passenger testing on a pre-programmed route, and interacting with pedestrians, cars, buses, and cyclists, according to Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of project partner HMI Technologies. "No other trial in Australia has tested an autonomous vehicle of this type in such a dense urban location," Zabrieszach said. "We have demonstrated that it can be done safely, without incident, and in compliance with road safety laws."

New Australian regulations to support driverless vehicles


Australian road traffic authorities can begin the roll out of intelligent transport systems (ITS) that enable vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person, or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, thanks to new regulations introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on Thursday.