Yesterday we brought you the first details about a new initiative taking place in Germany where a number of firms, including major automakers, are working to develop a common standard for future car-to-car and car-to-object communication technology. Called “Safe Intelligent Mobility - Testfield Germany” (simTD), the initiative calls for a four-year practical field test of the potential of such communication systems to improve traffic safety and mobility.

The field test will consist of 120 vehicles, some of which will include models from Daimler brands Mercedes-Benz and Smart. However, while the field test will be taking place in Germany, Mercedes-Benz will also be engaged in car-to-car and car-to-object communication research here in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that it’s fitting the communication technology to cars at its research center in Palo Alto, California. The aim, the automaker says, is to address the particular requirements of the American market with regard to car-to-car communication, as well as the commonality of standards with other automakers.

Social networks have become a well-established way of exchanging information quickly and easily. Taking this concept and implementing it with cars could not only lead to safer cars but more efficient ones too.

Basically, each car has a network link to the others, as well as to the traffic infrastructure, and they will keep each other updated about the current traffic situation. For example, if the tail-end of a traffic jam is hidden behind the crest of a hill or heavy fog, vehicles approaching the problem area can be alerted in good time, allowing the driver to take appropriate action, or perhaps even enabling autonomous systems to take control and prevent a crash.

Car-to-object systems can also do their bit to make traffic more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly, in particular by helping to control traffic light systems according to demand, thereby optimizing traffic flow. In addition, it can offer a range of convenient functions such as suggested routes to the nearest available car park when integrated with a satellite navigation system.

Since the technology is still in its infancy, any potential launch date for car-to-car and car-to-object communication technology would be years away.