It’s a well-known fact that the Australian Outback is a vast, harsh and unforgiving place. 5 million square kilometres (over 65% of the country) receives no mobile signal. In times of emergency the lack of reception can be incredibly dangerous. However, while you might be far from a cell phone tower in the Outback you’re never far from a Toyota LandCruiser.
LandCruiser’s legendary toughness and ability to go anywhere has made them Rural Australia’s most popular 4×4. And in many places they’re the only vehicles you’ll see.
That’s why Saatchi & Saatchi, in partnership with Flinders University, is pioneering a new device that can be fitted in Toyota LandCruisers, enabling them to create a pop-up emergency network that will bring communications to the most remote parts of the Outback. 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.
The technology is being piloted in a fleet of LandCruisers fitted with the device in the remote Flinders Ranges – one of the most harsh and dangerous parts of the Australian outback – where the Mars Society test their vehicles.
Brad Cramb, Divisional Manager – National Marketing Toyota, said, “The marrying of communications technology and the LandCruiser a vehicle that has a long history in the outback presents a huge opportunity for us to provide much-needed infrastructure to remote communities around Australia.”
Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen of Flinders University said, “Humanitarian technologies aren’t just something nice to have, they all too often end up being the difference between life and death. It is hard to conceive of a more robust and extensive support network for Outback Australia than the collective LandCruiser drivers of this country”.
Mike Spirkovski, Executive Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi Australia added, “It’s amazing that in this day and age with such epic technology advances in mobile communications over 65% of Australia still receives no mobile signal.
“With this in mind and the fact that Toyota’s LandCruiser is one of the toughest vehicles in the world and rural Australia’s most popular 4×4 we created the LandCruiser Emergency Network”.
This is an interesting move for a company primarily seen as a creative agency and will hopefully be of benefit to many who are in places which are difficult to get communications to.