Most major automakers, on both sides of the Atlantic, are teaming up with governments and other industry groups to help develop a new generation of Car-2-Car and Car-2-Object communications technology in order to not only improve safety but also reduce emissions and make driving more enjoyable.

One of the leaders in this field is Ford, which demonstrated more than four years ago a smart intersection that could relay information back and forth between vehicles in order to alert drivers of possible dangers or obstructions before they come into view.

Now the Blue Oval is launching a contest with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in order to help spur development of innovative applications that enhance vehicle safety and sustainability by using Car-2-Car communications.

Multidisciplinary teams of students, based mostly in the Midwest, will be encouraged to develop new and innovative applications that benefit all road users and all forms of transit; cars, commercial vehicles, transit buses, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Backgrounds in electrical, mechanical and computer engineering are important, but interdisciplinary teams will be required to develop holistic applications. The winning team’s project must be innovative, operate reliably and effectively during judging, and be user-oriented, says Ford.

Teams will have to submit ideas by December 1, and a winner will be declared in late April, 2013. The winning team will receive $5,000 and may even see their ideas implemented in future cars.

Both Ford and UMTRI are also working with the U.S. Department of Transportation in a year-long program dubbed the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program, which tests Car-2-Car communications in the real world. One of the aims of the program is to come up with a common standard for vehicles of all makes utilizing Car-2-Car communication technology.

Volvo recently provided an extensive list of the benefits of such technology. You can view the list in our previous post.