SUNA shifts up a gear

Intelematics will leverage thousands of probe vehicles across Australia to monitor traffic flow in a major enhancement of its SUNA traffic service.

The enhanced service, coined SUNA Phase 2, will deliver more detailed road coverage and higher precision than is possible through its current traffic model. It will feature a range of improved technologies, including the integration of speed data collected from thousands of vehicles including taxis, road service vehicles, courier vans, coaches and GPS-equipped private vehicles.

This new infrastructure is expected to generate approximately one hundred million instantaneous speed measurements each month.

Adam Game, Chief Executive Officer, Intelematics Australia, said the service upgrade will go live in the third quarter of 2010 at no additional cost to existing SUNA Traffic Channel customers.

“SUNA Phase 2 will deliver tangible improvements to the accuracy and level of coverage currently provided to motorists. Drivers will have greater understanding and control of the road conditions around them, delivering a safer and more enjoyable motoring experience.

“SUNA Traffic Channel provides a real-time traffic service that enhances the driving experience of Australian motorists by helping them understand, anticipate and respond to changes in traffic flow and road conditions. Today, our commitment to motorists remains unchanged, and with SUNA now available to more than 95 per cent of the Australian main metropolitan population, we believe we are now in the best position to deliver the next phase of the service.”

Commenting on the announcement made today by Intelematics Australia, Tim Pallas MP, Victorian Minister for Roads and Ports, said, “During the three years since the launch of the service, SUNA Traffic Channel has continued to grow and help place Victoria at the forefront of technology and motoring development.

“Real-time traffic information services such as SUNA are an important part of the transport mix as they help drivers make informed decisions while on the road, which ultimately improves overall safety and alleviates unnecessary frustrations.”

The new fleet of probe vehicles will complement the technology already employed by Intelematics to monitor congestion levels, which leverages sensor infrastructure associated with traffic light control systems and freeway and toll-way management systems. By agreement with the various state authorities and private road managers, Intelematics extracts data from these systems to monitor congestion levels across metropolitan regions.

GPS probe vehicles, sometimes referred to as ‘floating vehicles’, measure their location, bearing and speed at regular intervals and then upload this information to servers using a cellular data connection. GPS data provides a highly accurate measure of travel times that provides reliable information even in dense urban road networks where less precise positioning techniques break down.

Fusing the data generated by the probe vehicles and the road sensors provides the opportunity to generate quality and coverage levels that cannot be achieved through a single technology. Integrating the data enables the automation of congestion monitoring across freeways lacking speed monitoring infrastructure and 24/7 congestion monitoring on less trafficked arterial roads even when floating vehicle data is sparse.

SUNA Phase 2 is the result of a substantial investment in research and development by Intelematics Australia, which has been made possible through the support of its shareholder, Royal Automotive Club of Victoria (RACV).

SUNA Traffic Channel is currently available on all the leading GPS navigation brands penetrating more than 30 per cent of monthly sales and is well on the way to adoption as a standard automotive feature with brands including Nissan and Ford having both adopted the services. It is also widely available on smartphones.

SUNA is currently available in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, monitoring more than 12,500 kilometres of roads in major metropolitan areas.

Intelematics Australia is currently conducting thorough testing of SUNA Phase 2 across Melbourne and Sydney.

Motorists can find out more information on SUNA by visiting: www.sunatraffic.com.au