Australia’s state government of Victoria is set to start automated vehicle technology trials to make the state’s roads safer for driverless cars.

Victoria Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford said that on-road testing will get underway in the state. This will be an Australian-first trial of connected vehicle technology.

Using advanced technology, the trial vehicles will connect with other vehicles directly. Testing will also focus on using 4G mobile networks to enable vehicles to connect with one another and to traffic management centres with Cloud servers using ‘Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything’ (V2X) technology.

Cellular V2X is a customised version of 4G, which has been modified according to the needs of connected vehicles rather than mobile phones.

Under controlled conditions, connected vehicles will be tested for various road safety features that include red-light violator warnings and pedestrian alert right-turn assist.

Initial trials started in late-2018 to test the concept on controlled tracks. Now, on-road testing will be launched on metropolitan and regional roads to assess how the technology could be used in vehicles in future.

The trial project is a collaboration led by Telstra and Lexus Australia. The initiative is supported by an A$3.5m grant from the Victoria Government’s connected and automated vehicle trial grants programme.

VicRoads is managing the grant programme, which was funded by the TAC through the towards zero action plan that seeks to support a range of initiatives to benefit road safety on roads across Victoria.

Pulford said: “We’re trialling cutting-edge technology like this to make our roads safer into the future.

“Victoria leading the nation in connected and automated vehicles, this technology will be critical in making roads safer not only here but across Australia.”

VicRoads chief executive Robyn Seymour said: “Connected and automated vehicles will play a huge part in reducing lives lost and serious injuries on our roads, that’s why we’re getting ready to implement this technology to start making a big impact on our roads.”