Your car talks to you. It uses gauges, warning lights and sometimes a computer-generated voice to make your drive smoother and safer.
What if it could talk to the road, too?
A number of studies around the globe are exploring that possibility. Scientists are trying to find out whether cars of the future could swap information with traffic lights, road-construction sites and other parts of the road infrastructure.
For example, a car might pick up signals and warn the driver that a green traffic light up ahead is about to turn yellow or that a road crew is doing repairs around the next curve.
Everyone in the industry wants safer roads. Carmakers also have a monetary reason to promote smoother-flowing traffic.
Cities from Boston to Beijing face gridlock. When traffic doesn't move, that becomes a deterrent to car sales. If carmakers want to sell more cars, they need to help commuters reduce the time stuck in traffic.