By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Sydney and Brisbane drivers can now join Melburnians in enjoying live traffic updates with the launch of the Suna Traffic Channel.

The technology, in service in Melbourne since January, allows navigation system owners to receive live traffic information updates while driving, meaning they can negotiate major traffic jams, saving time and money.

Users of most recent GPS units can buy a separate aerial for approximately $100 from the major navigation system manufacturers to enable the service to work on their cars, while new customers have the option of purchasing the aerial bundled with a new unit.

System developer Intelematics’ chief executive, Adam Game, said the system was the “beginning of a revolution in navigation” in this country.

“With traffic congestion forecast to double over the next decade, the thirst for relevant information can only become more imperative.

“For the first time in Australia, Suna provides low cost information on major living centres and access to live, personalised traffic information at will,” he said.

Game claimed the east coast system’s completion meant it covered 75 per cent of Australia’s urban population and 10,000 kilometres of arterial road, with 3,500 kilometres monitored 24/7.

The system uses sensors installed in traffic lights, as well as coordinated information from local road authorities, major event listings, breakdown truck dispatches, emergency services dispatches and freeway cameras and toll booth monitors to gather all relevant information.

The service went live unofficially in the two capitals four weeks ago, but products to receive the signal only started to hit stores from today.

TomTom, Garmin, Pioneer, Mio and Navman have all signed up to provide the technology from launch, with users able to see basic information in a sidebar on the screen.

Those who prefer to look at more detailed information can use a split-screen display mode to separate navigation and traffic information.

In a surprise move, Ford Australia also launched Suna as a feature on navigation-equipped new FG Falcons.