Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is the next big wave in active vehicle safety but the technology is still in its infancy and will require substantial cooperation between carmakers and governments to get off the ground. Several carmakers have taken the initiative to develop the technology already, with companies such as General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen all previewing systems in the past.

The Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan International Speedway (MIS) have now joined forces to help in the development of a connected-vehicle system. The speedway, located in Brooklyn, Michigan, will allow companies to use the track as a test road for the new technology.

The Speedway currently features a 1.9-mile road course and a 2.0-mile banked oval on 1,400 acres that also could be used for terrain testing, reports The Detroit News. One of the key benefits for companies hoping to use the facility is that the cost would be no more than a normal track-rental fee.

The hope is that the area will become a hub for the development of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems, with some analysts predicting the creation of up to 40,000 jobs over the next decade. Most of these would be at firms supplying electronics, sensors, and radio frequency equipment, as well as actual car companies.

The basic idea of the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system as a safety feature is the ability for vehicles to communicate potential hazards and other important information to nearby vehicles. For example, if a vehicle encounters an adverse condition such as a traffic jam, fog, an icy road surface or an accident, it will transmit this information to all potentially affected vehicles in the area. Approaching traffic is alerted, allowing drivers to adjust their driving to the upcoming situation. The systems rely on a dedicated radio frequency to transmit data and use visual aids and audible alerts in the cabin to alert drivers.

If the MIS project is given the green light, the first connected-vehicle tests are expected to start in the second half of the year.