Volvo promises 'smart' vehicles by 2016

Puts deadline on first CAR 2 CAR compatible vehicles

5 Nov 2012

Volvo has announced plans to produce vehicles capable of communicating with one another by 2016, joining the CAR 2 CAR communications project.

Part of a vendor-neutral effort to make transportation more efficient, the CAR 2 CAR project envisions a world where vehicles can transmit useful data to each other regardless of manufacturer or model. Data could include warnings about hazards in the road ahead, traffic flow data or even optimum speed calculations.

The result would be vehicles better able to assist the driver in being both safe and efficient on the road. Data would flow from the front vehicles backwards, allowing those who have not yet seen the hazard in question to receive advanced warning - potentially in time to take an alternative route.

The communications system wouldn't be limited to vehicles, either, with traffic lights and road signs able to transmit their own information. In doing so, it would be possible for the vehicle to vary its speed in order to pass through as many green lights as possible - meaning the driver would get to his or her destination faster without speeding. Those who skim through red lights, meanwhile, would broadcast a signal to nearby vehicles warning them of a possible collision - potentially allowing the cars to get emergency braking systems ready to mitigate impact damage.

Traffic flow alerts would allow for traffic jams to be detected before they've even properly formed, aggregating information from multiple vehicles to warn of an impending jam and allow those not already involved to find alternative routes. All combined, the systems should improve efficiency, enhance safety and reduce road congestion.

The CAR 2 CAR project has been in progress since 2008, with companies including Volvo, Audi, BMW and Honda working on test systems for the inter-vehicle communications platform.

While Volvo will have a small number of CAR 2 CAR compatible vehicles on the road by 2016, it will take the majority of vehicles receiving support before the system is able to truly demonstrate its capabilities - meaning it could be a while before traffic jams are truly a thing of the past.

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