The future of the automobile is a tricky subject, but looking to the nearer term, high-tech driver-assistance systems are definitely on the way. Getting there is the problem, and that's where luxury carmaker bankrolls and high-tech corporations come into play.

A group of suppliers including Bosch, Continental and Infineon have joined forces with BMW and Daimler to help forge new ground in making radar systems affordable. The end goal of the project is to make it affordable to put radar into a car in every segment, basing every driver assistance system possible off of it, reports the EE Times.

Radar is already making huge inroads, with Toyota, Ford, Mazda and many other carmakers offering it already or working to bring the tech to market. But doing so cheaply is the hard part.

Planned as a three-year project with a budget of €17 million ($23.6 million), the companies will jointly develop mass-production radar sensors capable of covering distances as small as 2in (5cm) out to about 820ft (250m). This will allow the radar units to be employed for everything from parking assist to adaptive cruise control and crash-prediction.

Another aspect of the project is moving the frequency band of the radar used: right now many cars use a 24GHz frequency for short-range radar that will go out of license in 2013. So the coalition is moving the new hardware to a 76-81GHz range to comply with forward-looking government regulations in the European Union.

Cars like the BMW 7-series and Mercedes Benz S-Class currently feature a number of radar-based technologies, including Mercedes' Pre-Safe system pictured above.