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Global tech giants invest in talking cars technology

18 January, 2013

Adelaide 'car-to-car' communications technology company Cohda Wireless has attracted a substantial, undisclosed investment deal from global networking equipment firm Cisco Systems and NXP B.V., a top 10 global semiconductor company.

The decision by the two United States NASDAQ listed technology giants to invest in the company is a coup for Cohda Wireless which was founded in 2005 by a group of research scientists working at University of South Australia's Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR).

With its roots originating from, and strong ongoing links with, UniSA and the University's commercialisation arm ITEK Ventures (ITEK), Cohda Wireless will now be able to advance its connected car communications and further extend its reach into the global automotive industry.

Cohda Wireless' key patented technology, called Dedicated Short Range Communications, is embedded in the receive side of an 802.11p radio and Cohda has also developed complete software solutions (from network layer to applications) to run on this hardware.

The technology, which is currently being tested in major trials around the world in Germany, France, United States and Australia, effectively allows cars to 'talk' to each other and reduce or eliminate crashes through car-to-car data transmission that provides drivers with an audio or visual alert in the threat of an accident.

It is estimated by the US Department of Transport that these car-to-car technologies may address up to 82 per cent of crash scenarios. 

Car-to-infrastructure network communications will also capture real-time data from on-board technology to better manage transportation system congestion and maximise vehicles operating maintenance and fuel efficiency.   

Cohda Wireless' advanced radio signal processing techniques started development in 2004 at UniSA's ITR under a $1m project and funding agreement funded by ITEK and Melbourne-based SciVentures Investments Pty Ltd.

Cohda Wireless was incubated through ITEK and in June 2005 the company was established, with further investment from ITEK and Canberra-based Epicorp Pre Seed Fund to commercialise the technology developed under the project and funding agreement.

ITEK Chief Financial Officer, and Director of Cohda Wireless, Bruce Tilbrook welcomes this week's announcement from Cisco and NXP Semiconductors.

"This investment from multi-billion dollar industry giants Cisco and NXP serves to validate the Cohda business model and its superior technology," Tilbrook says.

"In addition, Cohda also has commercial agreements with both Cisco and NXP providing global scale and strong channels to market its technology.

"The pay-off if everything goes right is very convincing."

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