Wouldn’t it be nice if our cars were able to sense that a crash was about to happen? It might sound like something out of “The Twilight Zone” but it’s about to come a reality. Technology has progressed to the point that cars will be able to “communicate” with each other to warn of potential car accidents.

Later this summer, the government will begin a year-long test that will involve about 3,000 volunteer drivers. It’s unknown when the technology might become commonplace; it may depend on how the test goes.

Here’s an example of how it could work. Say you are about to drive through a busy intersection on a green light while going 45 mph. Unbeknownst to you, there is a driver about to speed through the intersection on a red light. Even before you can see the vehicle, your car knows about it. It sends a row of red lights flashing just below the windshield. You brake and stop just in time to avoid getting T-boned by the other car.

How does it work, you may ask? The cars would communicate over wireless networks, sometimes 10 times per second, with other vehicles that have the same technology and that are within about 1,000 feet. The information is then analyzed by a computer and warnings are sent to the driver if necessary.

It may be hard to imagine, but in a few years’ time, your car may be telling you what to do. And it may just save your life.

Source: Sun Times, “Cars avoid each other by ‘communicating’ with each other,” Joan Lowy, June 10, 2012