Qatar: Connected vehicle technology to be tested

A pilot project will be implemented next year in Qatar, to test a new connected technology whereby vehicles will be able to communicate with each other.

Testing the connections between vehicles (image Doha News).
Testing the connections between vehicles (image Doha News).

Increasingly, Qatar is embracing on-board technology as a solution to driver safety and enhanced services, with initial focus on passenger vehicles and moving into the commercial sector further down the line.

Qatar will be implementing a pilot project next year to test a new connected technology whereby vehicles will be able to communicate with each other. The exchange of information will include sharing the status of traffic congestion and traffic accidents, Doha News reports.

The pilot project is intended to lead to a commercial rollout by 2019, with the first phase of the QatarV2X (V2X) comprising 30 to 50 equipped vehicles and 20 to 30 roadside units.

The launch of the V2X pilot is set to coincide with GM and Toyota’s international launch of similar services in their 2017 models, the Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) said.

Dr. Adnan Abu Dayya QMIC CEO told Doha News that the technology aids in collecting information about other motorists as well as road conditions as the vehicles communicate with each other.

He elaborated that connected vehicles could enhance road safety: “This information could be used to alert drivers about potential dangers (even if they can’t see them) and guide them to take actions to avoid accidents.”

When connected vehicle technology is widely used he said that many accidents at intersections could be avoided.

The official cited a study by the US Department of Transportation, which states that connected vehicles could address up to 80% of road accidents.

QMIC has been working to introduce innovative solutions to enhance road safety including the introduction of an app in 2014, that locks a motorist’s mobile phone when he is driving at a certain speed.

Over the following next few months, QMIC will choose a test site for its V2X-equipped cars, with its eye on the Qatar University Campus as a potential site.

“The campus of Qatar University is a site as it covers a large area and a big number of both vehicles and people moving in and out. We might also look for a busy intersection or a street in Doha where we can extend our tests,” Abu Dayya said.

The system uses localised WiFi-like signals that can connect vehicles within a 1,000m range.

Abu Dayya explained that cars equipped with the technology have intelligence that can select data to process only relevant information.

  • The components of V2X include:
    • An in-car unit, either embedded or retrofitted after purchase;
    • Roadside units on key streets and intersections;
    • Applications that can be managed by a central V2X mobility centre.

Abu Dayya cautions that the success of the technology will depend on how well drivers interact with the system’s alerts which can be delivered either through visuals on the dashboard or through voice.

He added that possibly in the future, V2X may combine with a technology that connects cars and the road network, making driverless cars a reality within the next five to 10 years.

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