Government announcement accelerates Australia’s move toward nationwide C-ITS network


Plans to create a connected vehicle network across Australia have taken a significant step forward, with the government announcing that it will assign the essential bandwidth for the project early next year.

The program to establish a cooperative intelligent transportation systems (C-ITS) connected vehicle network across the country has been advanced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) intention to allocate the 5.9GHz band by early 2017. The main body representing Australia’s vehicle industry, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), has welcomed ACMA’s release this week – a consultation paper outlining the proposed regulatory measures to support the national roll-out of C-ITS.

The FCAI’s chief executive, Tony Weber (right), said the regulatory framework provided by ACMA is an essential first step in the development of an integrated, automated and connected driving network, in which vehicles will be able to digitally exchange information with other vehicles sharing the same road (V2V) and equally importantly, which will allow vehicles to communicate with the road network and surrounding infrastructure (V2I).

The FCAI has been in consultation with ACMA and Austroads, which is developing the all-important framework for the roll-out of C-ITS nationally, as well as other major stakeholders.

“To make C-ITS operable, we needed a way in which all the players can share a common digital language, and this provides it,” Weber said.

“ACMA’s proposed regulatory arrangements support the introduction of C-ITS in the 5.9 GHz band. This confirms that the Australian C-ITS standards will be the same as that used in the EU (European Union).

“Any vehicles operating on other frequency bands, such as those built specifically for use in the Japanese domestic market, will not be able to communicate with ours.

“And what is equally as important, any vehicles imported that operate on different standards, will illegally interfere with a range of other services, here such as toll roads and mobile phones. This consultation paper places a digital marker from which our C-ITS will mirror those being planned and implemented by Europe.”

Weber continued, “A national approach is vital to ensure C-ITS delivers optimal benefits, no matter where in Australia you drive. Properly funded, well-engineered and collaboratively supported, a world-class C-ITS in Australia will save hundreds of lives on our roads every year, optimize our investment in infrastructure, reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, shrink our commuting times, and in doing so, relieve a huge amount of pressure from our emergency services and our hospital system.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).