The European Union has taken the first major steps to establishing a next-generation vehicle-to-vehicle communications system by passing a motion today to reserve an EU-wide frequency band for vehicle applications. With a targeted goal of reducing road accidents, today’s motion aims at enabling co-operative systems between carmakers and is expected to lead to eventual roll-out of the first production examples early next decade.

The latest motion is part of the EU's Intelligent Car Initiative, launched in 2006, which promotes the use of Information and communication technologies to reduce road accidents and ease traffic congestion.

The motion provides an EU-wide frequency band that can be used for ‘immediate and reliable communications between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure.’ A 30MHz wide frequency range within the 5.9GHz band will be allocated within the next six months by national authorities purely for road safety applications. Both the U.S. and Japan have already reserved similar frequency bands for future vehicle communications systems.

The new technology will have the potential to warn approaching vehicles of traffic jams and hazardous road conditions, reports the Associated Press. German carmakers are expected to start extensive field trial for vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems later this year.

Ford recently showcased its own ‘Smart Intersection’ technology, which relies on GPS and wireless communication technologies to enable traffic lights and street signs to send warnings to approaching vehicles, and both Nissan and Volvo have confirmed development plans for similar systems in the past. In the near future, there’s likely to be a standardized system where every vehicle on the road will recognize the presence of other vehicles. The technology also has the potential for creating a world where actual driving is no longer necessary.