Drivers to be asked to take part in development of new in-car communications technology

Safety alerts will track vehicles and display messages about collisions, congestion, stationary vehicles, road works, and hazardous weather

Some 1,500 drivers are to be asked to take part in a pilot deployment of new in-car technology, to be announced on Thursday.

Using equipment installed directly in cars or operated through a smartphone app connected to the dashboard, road operators based in the State’s Motorway Traffic Control Centre will be able to track vehicles and send safety alerts to motorists in real time.

The safety alerts will display messages relating to collisions, congestion, stationary vehicles, road works, and hazardous weather.

Currently, such messages are communicated through overhead signs which limited message space. However the new, Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) will communicate by wifi or the GSM mobile network and will track the position and progress of each car.


About 150 vehicles are being fitted with extra technology to communicate directly from the car to roadside receivers.

According to roads operator Transport Infrastructure Ireland, C-ITS enables vehicles to “talk” to other connected vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and traffic management control centres to share relevant safety-related alerts and advisory messages with drivers. The messages will also identify electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the vicinity of the driver.

The pilot programme is part of the C-Roads Platform which is co-funded by the EU. It brings 18 EU states and road operators together to harmonise the standards for the implementation and deployment of C-ITS on European roads.

C-ITS is already being deployed on the big routes across the EU and is being heralded as a big step on the way to autonomous driving.

The Irish pilot project covers about 355 kilometres of motorway network on the M1, M50, M7 and M8 motorways. It is to be launched by Minister for State for Transport Jack Chambers on Thursday. Mr Chambers will invite motorists to apply to be one of 1,500 motorists who will take part in the trial.

The C-ITS pilot will also use 78 roadside units which are powered by some wind and solar technologies along with fibre/mobile connections on the more rural sections of the motorway.

The Department of Transport said the technology would change the way vehicles and roads interact and has the potential to increase road safety and improve the management, maintenance, and monitoring of our transport network.

The pilot scheme has no element of vehicle automation – drivers will always remain in control of their vehicles during the pilot. However, the technology represents an important link in the transition to self-driving cars.

TII said while there is as yet no element of autonomous driving, the pilot programme “will help lay the foundations for the next generation of transport infrastructure and car manufacturing standards”. It also supports the Department of Transport’s objectives to deliver safer transport.

Participants will be rewarded for providing regular feedback throughout the pilot project. Motorists are invited to register their interest in participating in the pilot by logging on to and completing a survey aimed at assessing their suitability to participate.

The pilot scheme is to run until the end of 2024.

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Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist