Verizon Wireless hopes to facilitate collaboration amongst players in the connected car space. 

The carrier today announced the formation of the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars. BMW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. have signed on as the initial members of the forum.  

Professor Sanjay Sarma of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will act as liaison amongst the members a link, providing them with news of relevant technology advancements and related academic research.  The main goal of the forum is to accelerate development of the LTE ecosystem across automotive OEMs, suppliers, device manufacturers, application developers and content publishers.

“Verizon is a natural impetus for this collaboration, which we all expect will include other companies and spur results that will benefit not only the industry, but millions of consumers around the world,” said Tami Erwin, chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, in a statement.

Verizon in particular has pursued the connected car space recently. Cadillac's CUE system, unveiled last year, comes equipped with an in-vehicle LTE modem, which connects to Verizon Wireless' LTE network.

Just last week Verizon Communications announced a deal to purchase Hughes Telematics for $612 million in a deal that will expand the operator's presence in the automotive and fleet telematics market.

ABI Research estimates that the installed base of embedded and hybrid connected car systems is expected to grow from 45 million at the end of 2011 to 210 million by 2016.