Volvo is paving the way for the implementation of Car-2-Car and Car-2-Object communication systems in its own vehicles with the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with fellow members of the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium being run in Europe. The consortium’s goal is to come to an agreement that will eventually lead to shared technology for communication between cars and roadside infrastructure by 2016, which hopefully will mean safer and less congested roads in the future.

The technology is also a crucial element for the development of autonomous cars, including the stepping stone ‘road train’ system that was successfully demonstrated by Volvo and other firms in the recent SARTRE project.

Development under the new CAR 2 CAR project encompasses several different research fields. Some relate to the way cars can communicate with each other (Car-2-Car), for instance, to provide information in the event of road-works or a road accident, while others focus on how the infrastructure can convey information about what is happening along the route (Car-2-Object).

Note, Volvo is not the only automaker looking to further develop Car-2-Car and Car-2-Object communication systems. In the U.S., General Motors is working with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program being run in Michigan, while in Europe automakers such as Ford and Daimler are working together in a similar program called Safe Intelligent Mobility - Testfield Germany.

Experts believe roads could be made safer and traffic congestion reduced by using communications technology to integrate vehicles with each other and with transport infrastructure. 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 an impending crash.

In addition to this, another benefit is improved fuel economy. For example, via a transmitter attached to a traffic light, a driver can be informed about what speed to maintain in order to make it through several consecutive green lights. This has a range of benefits such as steadier traffic flow, greater comfort for drivers, lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.

We’ll keep you updated as the CAR 2 CAR project progresses.