A mid-model year update that adds vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications to the 2017 Cadillac CTS makes the GM luxury brand the first in the world to make that capability standard in a mass-market car.
Mark this as another step in the march toward autonomous driving: V2V communication will be a key component in the future of personal transportation as it will eventually allow the vehicles sharing any given section of roadway to "talk" to each other.
In forming rolling wireless networks, cars will be able to sense each others' presence before the drivers can see the other vehicle - say, at a downtown intersection where sightlines around corners are blocked by large buildings. Each car will be able to connect with others within about 300 metres of its location.
Cadillac may be first with V2V tech, but it is not unique in building cars that can communicate with its surroundings. Limited numbers of the 2017 Audi A4, 2017 Audi A4 Allroad and 2017 Audi Q7 come with the ability to "talk" to smart traffic signals on Las Vegas' infamous Strip. In these cars, the driver can know how long the wait will be for a light to turn green, and what speed to travel at in order to avoid red lights.
While Cadillac's being the first to add V2V tech is a notable development, it means that for the moment the only cars communicating with each other will be brand-new CTSs. Cadillac admits as much, but rightfully enough adds that someone had to be first to market with V2V if the autonomous vehicles filling news feeds are to become reality.
Even before self-driving cars become the norm, Cadillac says V2V has the potential to add another layer of safety to the conventional driving experience. If the driver of a car two or three vehicles ahead hits the brakes in a panic stop, it can warn the cars behind it of that fact, giving everyone an extra few seconds worth of heads-up and potentially prevent the kind of awful pile-up like we saw on Ontario and Quebec highways in yesterday's snowstorm.
V2V joins the suite of semi-autonomous and active safety features that Cadillac, along with other manufacturers, currently offers in its cars, like adaptive cruise control, automatic front and rear braking, forward collision mitigation, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.