The LandCruiser Emergency Network turns each vehicle into a communication hotspot with a 25km range.
Toyota LandCruisers are the vehicle of choice for navigating the Australian Outback, due to their ability to ride across difficult terrains. Now, LandCruiser Emergency Network is a collaboration between Flinders University in Adelaide, Toyota and creative agency Saatchi and Saatchi aiming to turn the cars into emergency communication hotspots across some of the 65 percent of the country that still receive no mobile signal. It will see the vehicles transformed into a wireless network, so that when someone gets lost in the Outback they can use the LandCruiser hotspots to communicate an emergency message.
To begin, LandCruisers will be fitted with a new plug and play device that combines wifi, UHF and DTN technology, to turn each vehicle into a communication hotspot with a 25km range. Then, if someone is lost or has an emergency in the Outback, they simply connect to one of these hotspots via wifi, and make an emergency call or send a geo-tagged message. Next, the hotspot will pass on the emergency beacon to any other LandCruiser hotspots within reach and so on until the message reaches emergency services.
The system is based on technology created by Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen of Flinders University and his team for the open source messaging project Serval, but adapted to operate over much larger distances. It is currently being tested with a pilot program in the Flinders Ranges mountains. We have already seen city buses used to create a wireless network in Portugal, but a different solution is needed in the vast Outback. Could this system work in other rural areas too?