We've seen cars that can see, and now -- thanks to the European Commission -- we'll soon have cars that can talk to each other. How? The EC today reserved part of the radio spectrum for smart vehicle communication, aka co-operative systems.
The systems will allow cars to 'talk' to one another, and to road infrastructure, in order to make the roads safer and more efficient. A car which has just encountered a dangerous situation on the road -- such as a patch of black ice or a crash -- can send a message warning other drivers of the impending danger, for example. Roadside infrastructure will also be able to receive information -- such as non-standard speed limits and diversions -- from traffic-management centres and communicate that to the relevant traffic.
The single, EU-wide frequency, will occupy the 30MHz spectrum in the 5.9GHz band, and will be allocated within the next six months by national authorities across Europe. It'll probably be a while longer before anyone makes a car that can listen and talk across these frequencies, but don't be surprised if the technology starts to crop up in third-party devices such as sat-navs in the next year or so.
The new scheme is part of the Intelligent Car Initiative, launched in 2006, which promotes the use of technology to achieve smarter, safer and cleaner road transport. You can read more about it by clicking here.
We really can't wait for this. If, like us, you're into cars and tech, don't forget to check out more hot car tech stories in our new car tech section. See what we did there? Rory Reid