Volvo cars will start talking to each other by the end of 2016

Cars being able to see the car in front of them is great, but it’s ultimately a one-way street; car-to-car two-way communication is a key ingredient toward effective and safe driver assistance and autonomy features, which is why it’s great that Volvo is set to debut its own car-to-car communications in shipping vehicles by the end of this year (via Automotive News).

Volvo isn’t the first: Mercedes-Benz and Toyota also let select models of their cars talk to one another. But this is an area of technology where critical mass will be required to effect sizeable benefits for everyday drivers, so any progress in terms of new automakers rolling out similar features is noteworthy.

Volvo’s tech will be present in the 90 series by year-end, including the S90, V90 and XC90, with wireless communication tech built in partnership with Ericsson that can send and receive warnings about road conditions between vehicles, as well as about problems with the cars themselves — activating when you turn on your hazard lights, for instance, to give cars coming up behind a heads-up that there could be trouble ahead. Communication is routed via the cloud so vehicles don’t need to have line-of-sight or other direct wireless connections.

That does mean it requires an active internet connection to work, but Volvo says it’ll also get better over time as a result of data analysis through use. Like other features, it’ll probably also trickle down to lower-cost model options after debuting on high-end vehicles.