As declines go, Detroit’s has been spectacular. So it’s a little strange to discover—just a short drive north of downtown, past countless deserted office blocks and homes—something that could help make cities safer, more energy-efficient, and generally more pleasant to live in.
Down the road in Warren, Michigan, General Motors is testing technology that lets cars transmit and receive useful information wirelessly across several hundred meters. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications should improve road safety by warning drivers of an impending collision or alerting them to treacherous road conditions ahead.
Eventually, connected vehicles should also benefit cities, acting as mobile sensors within vital transportation arteries and helping prevent accidents, control congestion, and reduce energy use.