While active cruise control already exists in production vehicles, these systems use sensors and cameras to see what is coming, limiting them when it comes to knowing what is over the next hill or around the next bend. This problem is driving companies such as Mercedes-Benz to develop car-to-car communication devices.
The idea being that if a hill is coming up, and there is a line of stopped traffic directly over that hill, the car-to-car communication system will be aware and safely bring the vehicle to a stop. Communication with traffic controls such as lights and signs are also being developed as a way to help cars avoid traffic, collisions and other disturbances on the roads. Seeing as sensors are only as good as the human eye, this communications system would help the car know exactly what is coming, before it happens.
Mercedes has begun testing of the new technology at its U.S. facility in Palo Alto, California. While Mercedes would surely like this system to underpin the autonomous driving movement, the issue is that every car on the road would need to be outfitted with similar tech, to at least send out messages to other vehicles. However if it can be perfected, this system could make autonomous driving much safer than human piloted driving.