Can we talk about connected cars? They might not excite you but as far as the industry and lots of governments are concerned, they are a pretty big deal – or they’re going to be.

Not just yet, though, because connected cars – or co-operative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) if you prefer – have hit a developmental crossroads.

The next step-change in advanced driver assist system (ADAS) technology and increasingly adept levels of autonomy will be made possible by the widespread adoption of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and, as a handy catch-all, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications.

Today’s ADAS functions and Level 2 autonomous systems, such as Tesla’s Autopilot and Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot (whose Level 3 billing has been dialled back a notch in most countries for now) are limited by what the vehicle’s own sensors can detect, which currently extends to a useful forward range of 250-300 metres on a good day. V2V communication could expand on that massively by allowing cars to share data on relative speeds, positions, directions of travel and even driver control inputs. Mix all this together and it will be possible to create a much more detailed picture of the surrounding area and make driving safer. Or at least that’s the idea.