Volvo Cars unveil what is said to be the industry’s first connected safety technology. Aimed at improving traffic safety, the technology allows Volvo Cars to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards via a cloud-based network.
Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced in 2016 on Volvo’s 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway. Next week the features become available to Volvo drivers across Europe. They come as standard on all new model year 2020 Volvos and can be retrofitted on selected earlier models that have adopted the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) or Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) from model year 2016 and onwards.
Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre, says, “Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents. Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead.”
Safety research by Volvo shows that adjusting speeds to the actual traffic situation can radically reduce the risk for accidents. By alerting people to dangers ahead in a timely manner and allowing them to adapt with time to spare, connected safety technologies can support better driver behaviour and boost traffic safety.
With the launch of these features across Europe, Volvo Cars also reiterates its invitation to the car industry to join it in sharing anonymised data related to traffic safety across car brands. Sharing such data in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety and becomes more influential the more cars are connected. Since last year, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks have shared data to alert drivers of nearby hazards in Sweden and Norway. “The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety,” said Malin Ekholm.
On introduction, Volvo Cars’ systems are said to have been the first of their kind in the automotive industry. As soon as any equipped Volvo switches on its hazard lights, the Hazard Light Alert sends a signal to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service, warning drivers to help avoid potential accidents. This is particularly useful on blind corners and over the crest of hills in the road.
Meanwhile, Slippery Road Alert increases the driver's awareness of both current road conditions and those on the road ahead, by anonymously collecting road surface information from cars further ahead on the road and warn drivers approaching a slippery road section in advance.
Last month Volvo Cars made a number of announcements aimed at supporting better driver behaviour and safer driving. From 2020, all Volvos will be speed-limited at 180 kph. Starting in the early 2020s, the company will also install in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver is risking an accident involving serious injury or death.
Finally, the company announced that for the first time, it is making its safety knowledge easily accessible in a ‘central digital library’, which it urges the car industry to use in the interest of safer roads for all.