It wasn’t so many years ago that we would watch cartoons, television shows or movies that had electronics that talked to us and we thought that it was nothing (much) more than high-tech make-believe (remember Knight Rider?). Now, it seems like every week, there are updates on items that are being invented that can communicate with their owners; one of the main ones on the list being automobiles.

As a matter of fact, just last April, the Washington Post released an article on the “car talking phenomenon” stating that it will be sooner than later that cars will be made with a short-range transmitter that will be able to send information at the speed of approximately 10 times per second faster than they are doing now.

With that transmitter, they will be able to receive and process information from other vehicles within that driving range. The bonus to that is with that kind of information, the car will then be able to decide if it should notify the driver of the potential driving risk that’s up ahead, or if it should take measures into its own hands and take appropriate action. The warning itself may come in the form of a vibrating seat, a gentle tug at the seat beat, or yes, a verbal declaration.

The benefit to all of this is not just to show the progression in technology, but to also significantly reduce the amount of accidents that occur every day on the road; some believe that talking cars could cut serious accidents down by as much as half, while others say even 80 percent or more.

Along these lines, the University of Michigan has announced that it will be doing a year-long test for the purpose of focusing on what they call “smart car technology”. What they have done is installed wireless communication devices in approximately 3,000 various vehicles including passenger cars, commercial trucks and even transit buses. These devices will be able to communicate with one another by exchanging all sorts of information including their location, direction and speed, along with the traffic lights and road signals that are sighted at their intersections.

This will assist the drivers of the cars because when the vehicles alert one another of their findings, it can notify the driver of instances like other cars making sudden lane changes, unexpected braking or an accident that is up ahead.

Of course, the University of Michigan is not the only organization involved in this kind of car testing. There has been quite a bit of media buzz for some time now regarding Google and its attempt to develop a car that is 100 percent self-driving. Anthony Levandowski, the individual heading up the project, believes that self-driving cars will be a common addition to the roadways in as little time as a decade from now.

So, if you’re in the market for a car right now (perhaps a new sedan or maybe you’re checking out some used trucks for sale) and you’re interested in that kind of feature, that might seem like a really long time, but to see cars talking to one another and driving themselves in 10 years certainly makes Knight Rider and The Jetsons seem like they weren’t too off base.

Maybe we should pay better attention to the sci-fi that is on television now. It may be providing more than entertainment; it just might be a heads up of what’s to come…in about another decade or so.