Truckies get extra eyes with high-tech system

Transport for NSW is using the Illawarra to test a high-tech system that will allow truck drivers to "see" up to a kilometre ahead.

The initiative uses Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS) technology, which will allow trucks to transmit and receive warnings about road hazards and conditions ahead.

It aims to increase safety and traffic flow because it will mean drivers can "see" over the crests of hills and around corners.

The trial, due to start in the next few months, will involve several trucks fitted with CITS equipment travelling along a 42-kilometre route between Port Kembla and the Picton-Hume Highway interchange.

"This route is a major transport link in the Wollongong region and was chosen because of its crash history involving heavy vehicles," a Transport for NSW spokesman said.

"It also presents a variety of environments, including port, freeway and rural areas."

With the system, data such as vehicle position, direction and speed are transmitted between CITS-equipped trucks and roadside infrastructure.

"The technology can warn drivers of imminent collisions with nearby similarly equipped vehicles; current speed limits; potential red-light violations; local road conditions, such as roadworks, fog and water over the road; and approaching emergency vehicles."

A typical road user would not notice anything unusual about the vehicle to indicate it is using CITS, he said.

News of the trial had been well received.

"A significant proportion of transport operators out of Port Kembla have expressed interest in the trial and a few of those will be participants in the first stage of the trial, which will include 30 heavy vehicles being fitted with the device," the spokesman said. "The trial will be progressively rolled out starting in mid-2014."

A second phase of the project will include up to 120 heavy vehicles, and up to three intersections will be "signalised" which will enable other vehicles to be warned when approaching a red light.

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