23 April, 2019

Connected technology allows for new Volvo safety systems

Connected safety technology is coming to Europe as Volvo Cars rolls out another ground-breaking initiative.

New technology will allow Volvo’s vehicles to communicate with each other and alert nearby drivers of any slippery road conditions the car has encountered, giving other drivers ample time to prepare themselves for difficult driving conditions. The news follows other recent safety announcements designed to protect occupants and prevent accidents.

Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced in 2016 on Volvo’s 90 series cars in Sweden and Norway, and now the features will become available to Volvo drivers across Europe. They come as standard on all 2020 model year Volvos and can be retrofitted on selected earlier models.

Connected safety

Carmakers are experimenting with connected car systems to keep in contact with drivers and collect data that they may be able to monetise, offering products and services that consumers may find relevant. The technology also has benefits for safety awareness, in scenarios such as that highlighted by Volvo.

‘Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents,’ said Malin Ekholm, Head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. ‘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 speed in line with the actual traffic situation can radically reduce the risk of accidents. By alerting people to dangers ahead promptly and allowing them to adapt with time to spare, connected safety technologies can support better driver behaviour and boost traffic safety.

Open source

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.

When introduced, Volvo Cars’ systems were 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 farther ahead on the road and warning drivers approaching a slippery road section in advance.

Safety advancement

Last month, Volvo Cars made several announcements aimed at supporting better driver behaviour and safer driving. From 2020, all Volvos will be speed-limited to 112mph. 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 an 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.