What if, however, rather than a nasty crash ensuing, an alert went off in the cab, telling your oblivious driver to brake? Last week, America’s Department of Transportation announced a $42m pilot programme that could transform the way cars interact with one another and their environments. The initiative is being tested in three parts of the country. In New York City, up to 10,000 city-owned vehicles will be equipped with so-called “vehicle-to-vehicle” communication (V2V). At the same time, traffic signals in Midtown and part of Brooklyn will be fitted with “vehicle-to-infrastructure” devices (V2I) that can notify drivers when a light they are rapidly approaching has turned red. In Tampa, Florida, a similar effort aims to reduce downtown congestion during peak commuting hours, and to improve pedestrian safety by putting the same technology on people’s smartphones. Less visibly, heavy commercial vehicles in Wyoming will use V2V and V2I to move freight more safely and efficiently.