Cadillac is set to become the first mass-market automaker to install vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication equipment in a production vehicle when it adds the technology to the 2017 CTS sedan as a mid-model year upgrade, available later this month in Canada and the United States.
V2V is a key component in the development of true autonomous vehicles. Current semi-autonomous technology allows a car so-equipped to follow road markings and adjust speed and road position relative to other vehicles, but V2V adds another layer in which the cars form a wireless network over which they can share data.
Because the technology doesn’t require the cars in question to be in each other’s sightlines, such conversations can occur between vehicles around a street corner from each other, for example, so that each car knows the other is there before the occupants do.
That, says General Motors, allows the car to warn you, as the driver, of hazards ahead in order to give you more time to react, alerts that will be customizable through Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system.
Like many other automakers, Cadillac already offers semi-autonomous features in its vehicles, like adaptive cruise control, automatic front and rear braking with rear cross traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, and lane keep assist.
Cadillac may be ready to sell the first cars that can talk to each other, but that doesn’t address another critical step in the drive toward autonomous cars, and that is vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.
Audi is closer to the forefront there, with the late-2016 addition of V2I software in the A4, Allroad and Q7 SUV — which it previewed in 2014 — that allows the cars to communicate with traffic signals, pulling information like how long it’ll be before a red light turns green and what speed to drive at so that you hit as few reds as possible.
V2I-equipped Audis are being sold in limited numbers in Las Vegas, the first municipality to install “smart” traffic signals in a bid to cut congestion along that city’s infamous Strip.