A group of companies, including several large automakers, have joined a public-private research initiative to lay the groundwork for a system that wirelessly connects vehicles and helps smooth the flow of traffic, the University on Michigan said on Friday. The university’s Mobility Transformation Center will help develop and implement technology that allows vehicles to talk to each other and surrounding infrastructure like stoplights to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle accidents. The initiative hopes to implement a working connected and automated car system by 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the university is based and testing a pilot program, the school said. Several companies are each committing $1 million over three years to establish the center, including General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co. The center is expected to raise as much as $100 million through 2021 for the project, a spokesman said.