|Ford wants to fit 80 per cent of its 2020 vehicles with its Local Hazard Information Technology (LHI) after a successful European trial of the tech on its Ford Puma|
Cars could soon be communicating with each other using 5G to make drivers aware of upcoming hazards, scientists claim.
The ultra-fast mobile internet would allow for rapid information transmission and could make drivers aware of black ice, pot holes or other dangers up ahead.
Several car manufacturers are already integrating 5G into their vehicles, including as a tool to help usher in the generation of self-driving vehicles.
Experts at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) believe the high-speed connection will also improve the reliability and capability of automated vehicles to the point where they will be safer than the manual cars being driven today.
They predict the number of road traffic accidents - which according to the World Health Organisation account for more than 1.3 million deaths and up to 50 million people injured worldwide every year - will drop drastically as a result.
Dr Dimitrios Liarokapis, a member of the research group, said: 'To have a better idea of what the future will look like, think of having Tesla-like cars that not only use sensors to scan what's around them, they can also talk to each other and exchange safety-related information about their surroundings over an area that covers several square miles.
'I'm sure anyone who has had a bad experience on frozen roads would have benefited from knowing about the dangerous conditions in advance so they could have adjusted their speed or, if possible, even avoided that route altogether. The same could be said of potholes.
'With the help of 5G, a vehicle-generated early warning system that alerts drivers is feasible within the next few years. Cars that are close enough to the danger area will transmit warning messages to other cars around them using short-range communication technologies, but also to cars further away using 5G, fast and reliably.
'Then those cars will send the same information to cars near them and so on, forming a joined-up, multi-vehicle communication chain that stretches far and wide.
'5G is an exciting mobile technology, which will give a massive boost to smart cities and autonomous vehicles among many other things.'
Automotive giant Ford is already working on connected cars.
Earlier this year it revealed its intention to fit 80 per cent of its 2020 vehicles with technology that warns drivers about upcoming road accidents, bad weather and traffic jams.
It planned to roll out this Local Hazard Information Technology (LHI) after a successful European trial of the tech on its Ford Puma.
The system pools data from other connected road users, emergency services and the authorities and beams it from the cloud directly to the car.
Alerts pop up on the car's dashboard display warning the driver about what lies around the corner.
Vehicles equipped with the FordPass Connect embedded modem - which links to the cloud via a 4G connection - will automatically share information with other users.
Peter Geffers, Manger Connected Vehicles, Platform and Products at Ford of Europe, told MailOnline: 'We believe we’re the first vehicle manufacturer to offer this independent setup.
'Hazard warnings are displayed considering the driving condition, for example city or motorway driving, to determine the ideal point in time for the advanced warning.'
The US car manufacturer says the system will make use of information from other Ford cars to alert other users.
HOW DOES FORD'S LOCAL HAZARD INFORMATION WORK?
Unlike current apps that require manual input, data will be provided autonomously.
Ford cars equipped with the FordPass Connect embedded modem - which connects to the internet with a 4G connection - will automatically upload data about what is happening on the road.
This will be stored in the cloud and complimented with information from emergency services and the authorities.
Information about what is happening on the road will then be sent to nearby road users who may be out of sight, but would benefit from the information.
It will pop up on the dashboard of the Ford cars.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year, BMW unveiled a prototype vehicle that lets drivers control the inside of the car using only their eyes.
A high-definition camera mounted in the dashboard will track a customer's head and eyes to precisely identify what they are looking at - either inside or outside the car.
BMW claims drivers will be able to look outside the car windscreen at a restaurant they are passing and learn its menu, opening hours and even book a table.
So-called gaze recognition will be available to customers for the first time in the BMW iNEXT as of 2021 alongside improved gesture and voice recognition in a package the German car manufacturer is calling Natural interaction.
Spanish car maker Seat, along with most major car manufacturers, is also investing heavily in its technological infrastructure.
Last year it announcing a system that lets cars talk to the road infrastructure around it.
For example, the latest Seat Leon is connected to the cloud which provides instantaneous data on nearby traffic lights.
It then tells drivers what colour the light will be when they arrive - assuming that they are not exceeding the speed limit.
Information will be shared with the on-board 10-inch infotainment screen and allow drivers to slow down or speed up their approach to avoid unwanted delays.
When the Leon approaches a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen saying whether it will be red, green or yellow by the time the car arrives.
It then calculates how far the car is from the lights and the speed it was travelling using real-time traffic data sent to the 'cloud' directly from the car.
The process - which takes just 300 milliseconds - connects cars to the cloud via a 4G internet connection.