Cadillac’s new cars can warn each other about dangerous road conditions

Cadillac says the 2017 CTS is the first car in the U.S. market with V2V technology.

Cars that can "talk" to each other are ready to hit the open road.

Cadillac announced its 2017 CTS sedan will be the first car in the U.S. market to include a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication system as a standard feature, adding an extra layer of smart safety to the the luxury line.

V2V-enabled autos share information about road conditions with other connected cars in their vicinity, which in turn helps drivers identify and avoid potential pitfalls even before reaching the trouble spots on the road. The connected vehicles could help to create an on-road data ecosystem in the future, which might make it easier for self-driving cars to navigate busy streets on their own.

The CTS’ V2V tech depends on a combination of Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) and GPS to share road data with other cars. The system can handle 1,000 messages per second from vehicles within a range of about 980 feet, which is a much larger range than cars that depend on only self-contained safety sensors.

The CTS V2V system has a few different safety features. It can alert drivers when connected cars nearby "break hard" to avoid obstacles, when there’s a disabled vehicle along the route and when a connected car uses traction control or deploys its anti-lock brakes, signaling potentially slippery road conditions.

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Matt Kirsch, an engineering group manager with the automaker, heads up the team that designed Cadillac’s V2V technology. He said in a phone call the project has been in the works for the last four years, although it was first announced publicly in 2015.

Cadillac’s cars can only communicate with other CTS models for now, so the system’s scope will be limited at the start. But it’s almost sure to expand — last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a proposed rule to mandate V2V systems in the cars of the future.

"We want to start that conversation, so this is our stake in the ground," said Steve Martin of Cadillac’s product and technology communications team. "We’re in in a really good position to usher in what everyone imagines when they think of V2V."

As a leader in the V2V space, the Cadillac team might have taken the initiative to establish the standards, too. "We feel like we’re positioning ourselves so that when other vehicles offer V2V technology using DSRC, we’ll be able to support any requirements that may come," added Chris Bonelli, the coordinator of Cadillac’s global advanced technology communications.

Kirsch was also quick to tout the Cadillac V2V system’s cybersecurity and privacy considerations. It has a firewall in place, and user data is never stored on the vehicle. The safety of connected cars is pressing concern as the tech develops — especially after details about car hacking efforts were included in the Wikileaks CIA document dump earlier this week.

The V2V technology’s implementation in the CTS is also a step toward Cadillac’s self-driving technology. "It’s similar to how we’re going to approach autonomous driving with Super Cruise, which is something we’re launching in the CT6 later on this year," said Bonelli.

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