In Australia, Toyota LandCruisers Form a New Kind of Network

1Australia is a different kind of place. I’ve never actually been there, but I know people who have. And as a ham radio operator, I’ve listened in on school taught via HF and once talked to a gent in Alice Springs. Take the cheesiness of Crocodile Dundee out of the equation, and Australia still captures our fascination as more of a “last frontier” than even my former home of Alaska. I recently got wind of a profoundly cool technology that is uniquely Australian, designed to help solve challenges that are unique to The Land Down Under.

First, the buildup. 

  • The Australian Outback is vast, and harsh. The term “Outback” covers most of Australia, and simply corresponds to sparsely populated areas where services can be scarce at best, and frequently non-existent.
  • Over 65% of Australia has no mobile signal coverage.
  • At the same time, there are a lot of Toyota LandCruisers in Australia. Like half a million of them. And they are common in Australia’s remote reaches.

This is where it gets cool.

How do you create a network where all conventional wisdom on the topic of networking is generally invalidated by environmental conditions and lack of civilization? That question may have been answered by a company called Saatchi & Saatchi in partnership with The School of Computer Science at Flinder’s University (efforts led by Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephan), and Toyota.

Here’s a hint… store and forward. And another… LandCruisers ARE the network.

How it works.

Each LandCruiser gets one of these installed.

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I’m told by program insiders “The device has been engineered using a clever mix of WI-FI, UHF and Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) technology, an area that lots of people are looking into – including NASA for interplanetary communications, to turn vehicles into communications hotspots each with up to a 25km range.”

Hence, Australia’s new LandCruiser Emergency Network.

Here’s a quick promo video that is worth watching.  And Wired magazine just did their own coverage on this very cool solution.

Now you know!

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One thought on “In Australia, Toyota LandCruisers Form a New Kind of Network

  1. Pingback: Surfing the Outernet- a Different Kind of Wireless Network | wirednot

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