Vehicles will be communicating with other as soon as 2019, if Volkswagen's plans come to fruition. Just one day after announcing its autonomous vehicle AI partnership with NVIDIA, the German car manufacturer says pWLAN (public wireless LAN) technology will be fitted to its cars as standard in just two years.
The technology makes it possible for cars and transport infrastructure within a radius of 500 meters to share information about warnings, traffic and road conditions within milliseconds, giving drivers a head start on risky situations such as black ice, or a car making an emergency stop.
The system will initially be limited to warnings and local information, but as the tech rolls out it'll be possible to bring more extensive features on board, such as real-time traffic light monitoring and information on emergency service vehicles. So you'll be able to see how far away an ambulance is, and which direction it's travelling in, without getting flustered trying to locate it in your mirrors.
The technology uses a frequency band specially intended for road safety, and because this is localized there's no data storage involved, meaning there's no need to worry about data costs or network coverage. It complies with the automotive industry standard for this type of tech, so there won't be any VW cliques – cars fitted with pWLAN can talk to each other regardless of their make.
The Department of Transportation has already made it pretty clear it wants America's cars to talk to each other sooner rather than later, so you can probably expect similar announcements from other manufacturers soon.