Cisco and NXP invest in Aussie wireless car safety device maker, Cohda

Cisco and Dutch firm semiconductor maker NXP plan to invest in Cohda Wireless, the Australian maker of a system designed to reduce crashes by improving wireless data transfer between sensors on cars and street fixtures.

The Adelaide-based firm, headed up by CEO Dr Paul Gray, developed a wireless device that boosts the connectivity range and amount of data that can be exchanged between moving vehicles and infrastructure. Applied to traffic situations, Cohda’s device can flag to a driver dangerous curves or oncoming vehicles and provides sight around solid objects.

The company claims commercial off-the-shelf rivals can comparably handle data transfers when stationary, but suffer in motion, while Cohda’s patented “receive side enhancements” are optimised for mobility and provide much earlier warnings of potential crashes.

Cohda’s main product is the MK2 Wave-DSRC Radio, which it describes as a “small, low cost IEE 802.11p compliant radio” for the ‘car to anything’ market. The device includes an embedded GPS receiver, runs an embedded Linux processor and has a USB 2.0 interface. Cohda says its technology has been through 17,000 kilometres of testing.

Cisco and NXP have not disclosed how much they intend to pump into Cohda and do not appear to be supporting its product, however NXP will exclusively license the Australian company’s 802.11p technology for the chipsets it sells to automotive customers. Cohda will also be NXP’s preferred partner for automotive reference designs for the protocol.

Cisco VP and GM of its Connected Industries Group Maciek Kranz stressed the importance of its “offboard” network infrastructure to onboard technologies by Cohda and NXP.

“Our ultimate aim is to bring about a safer, more enjoyable, and more productive travel experience, enabled by the network,” said Kranz.

The companies plan to launch both in-car and roadside units to get consumers, businesses, automotive OEMs, and suppliers connected to Intelligent Transport System infrastructure.

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