Volvo car-to-car ‘chats’ to start in 2020
Swedish carmaker's pursuit of making driving safer reaches new ‘big brother’ levels
Car-to-car communication has perhaps featured not as prominently as autonomous driving and electric power trains.
Now Volvo has announced that come 2020 every new Volvo car will be enabled to communicate with other Volvos on matters such as alerting drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards via a cloud-based network.
If the car detects an issue with a patch of road, data is then sent to other cars (only Volvos for now) and the recipient car translates the message to warn its driver of the road conditions ahead.
This Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert technology was first availed to the company’s 90-series cars back in 2016 but only for cars sold in Sweden and Norway. The feature will become available to Volvo cars across Europe from 2020 and can be retrofitted on selected earlier models.
The Swedish carmaker said the technology is particularly useful on roads that may have blind spots, such as a hill’s crest or blind corners, and Volvo says it encourages other carmakers to join hands and begin sharing anonymous data to help build an ecosystem of connected cars.
“The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We hope to establish more collaboration with partners who share our commitment to safety,” said Malin Ekholm of Volvo.
Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert is announced on the back of the recent revelation by Volvo of its ambitions to end fatalities in its cars by addressing the issues of intoxication and distraction.
Apart from speeding, which the company says it aims to eradicate through limiting the top speeds of all its cars to 180km/h from 2020 , it is also targetting intoxication and distraction as two other primary areas of concern of human behaviour for traffic safety.
From the early 2020s Volvo will tackle driver intoxication and distraction in its cars by installing devices such as in-car cameras and other sensors. These will monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident.
Together, these “Big Brother” technologies are earmarked for 2020 installation and will help Volvo’s ambitions towards a vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities.