When motor vehicles were in their infancy, most manufacturers were more worried about how they could make them go than anything else. Now, manufacturers are not only concerned with how to make vehicles safer but whether to do this by using technology that could prevent crashes entirely.

By now, many of you have heard about Google’s new self-driving car. Considered by many to be the wave of the future in ultra safe transportation, it isn’t the only solution to a problem that affects people in every state: motor vehicle accidents. Some researchers are now working on technology that could allow vehicles to talk to their surroundings, allowing them to prevent dangerous accidents from even occurring.

Sensors in both newer models, as well as retrofitted into older models, would send data back and forth between the vehicles around them, including vehicle speed and even road conditions. If a driver were to suddenly brake miles ahead of you, your vehicle would know this and adjust appropriately to avoid a crash before it even happens.

Some technologies that are supposed to prevent accidents already exist in some vehicles. But these systems often rely on the technology’s ability to see the hazard in order to warn the driver. With this new sensor technology, view can be completely obstructed and it would still work to help you avoid a crash.

The hope is that one day this system can be made available in all motor vehicles, including motorcycles. Because the sensors do not require line of sight to work, these systems would be most beneficial to motorcyclists who are often struck because the other driver did not see them.

Source: The New York Times, “New Era in Safety When Cars Talk to One Another,” Aaron M. Kessler August 20, 2014