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Inter-vehicle communication (IVC) protocols have the potential to increase the safety, efficiency, and convenience of transportation systems involving planes, trains, automobiles, and robots. The applications targeted include peer-to-peer networks for web surfing, coordinated braking, runway incursion prevention, adaptive traffic control, vehicle formations, and many others. The diversity of the applications and their potential communication protocols has challenged a systematic literature survey. We apply a classification technique to IVC applications to provide a taxonomy for detailed study of their communication requirements. The applications are divided into type classes which share common communication organization and performance requirements. IVC protocols are surveyed separately and their fundamental characteristics are revealed. The protocol characteristics are then used to determine the relevance of specific protocols to specific types of IVC applications.