Volvo is taking technology that allowed some of its vehicles to communicate with each other about hazardous road conditions and expanding it across Europe in an effort to increase safety, the automaker announced Monday.
Volvo first introduced its Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert system in 2016 on Volvo’s 90 Series cars. But it was limited to drivers in Sweden and Norway. Next week, Volvo will make the system available to drivers across Europe.
The system will be a standard feature on all 2020 model-year vehicles in Europe. The system can be retrofitted on select earlier models as well, Volvo said.
The vehicle-to-vehicle communication tech that enables the Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert system uses a cloud-based network to communicate between vehicles. For instance, when an equipped Volvo vehicle switches on the hazard light, a signal is sent to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service.
The slippery road alert works by anonymously collecting road surface information from cars farther ahead on the road and warning drivers approaching a slippery road section in advance.
“Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents,” Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre said in a statement. “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.”
The expansion of the system is the latest in a series of efforts by Volvo to improve safety within its portfolio and across the industry. Volvo said, as part of its announcement, that it has opened a central digital library of all of its past safety research, dating back to the 1970s.
Volvo Cars reiterated its call to the rest of the car industry to join it in sharing anonymized data related to traffic safety across car brands.
Earlier this year, Volvo said it would limit speeds on all new vehicles, beginning with its 2020 models, to about 111 miles per hour.
It also plans to integrate driver monitoring systems into its next-gen, SPA2-based vehicles beginning in the early 2020s. That system will be able to take action if the driver is distracted or intoxicated. The camera and other sensors will monitor the driver and will intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death. Under this scenario, Volvo could limit the car’s speed, call the Volvo on Call service on behalf of the driver or cause the vehicle to slow down and park itself on the roadside.