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Smart Car For $400?

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 15/10/2013

You'll never have to hoot the horn again

And its all thanks to an Adelaide based company, who today unveiled Stella - a solar-ran car that has the smarts to talk to other vehicles via wireless technology. 

Cohda Wireless, a spinout company from the University of SA, is commercialising its "connected car" technology to let cars communicate with each other, avoid accidents and have "360-degree" awareness

The Dutch-designed four-seater Stella is the world's first car, powered by the sun. Two versions of the car were unveiled today at Adelaide's Victoria Park Raceway - one solar powered car and another that runs on electricity.  

Stella and two other Cohda-equipped cars demoed their "360-degree" awareness to reduce risks on the road, avoid traffic jams and increase driver safety.
The connected cars 'talk' to each other via Wireless P technology. 

During the World Solar Challenge from Darwin to Adelaide, Stella used Cohda's technology to determine the best speed and number of passengers on a particular route to maximise the vehicle's energy efficiency.

The breakthrough car safety technology is being trialled in thousands of vehicles in the US, Europe and Australia, and will start being rolled out in in production vehicles from 2015.

The Cohda wireless equipment can also be retro fitted on cars, and will cost approx $400-$500 to purchase, once it comes to market, Smarthouse has been told. 

This price is likely to go down as the tech goes mainstream.

There is a significant drop in car accidents even if  just 10% of the cars on a particular route run this technology, says Cohda Wireless Chief Technical Officer, Paul Alexander. 

"As 'connected vehicle' systems start to appear, industry research agrees that we will see a measurable improvement in crash reduction once the installed rate reaches 10 per cent". 

Insurance companies are also said to be interest in SA based firms technology. 

Cisco Systems and automotive supplier NXP Semiconductors are among Cohda Wireless' shareholders.

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