Volvo vehicles are now going to start giving each other a heads up about weather and other hazards on the road. It's the old flash your brights as a warning, taken to a whole new level.
The Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert functions were first introduced three years ago on 90 series cars in Sweden and Norway. Starting next week, they'll become available to drivers across Europe, standard on all 2020 model year Volvos and available as a retrofit on some older cars.
Hazard Light Alert is fairly straightforward. If any Volvo car that has cloud service connection has the four-way flashers turned on, the car sends an alert to the cloud. Any Volvos nearby get an alert telling them where that car is, so if there's a collision nearby and a Volvo is blocking a lane around a blind corner, other Volvo drivers won't be surprised.
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“Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents,” said Malin Ekholm, head of 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.” Of course, like any crowdsourced warnings, the more vehicles participating, the more useful the data. Ekholm says that "we hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety."
The other feature is Slippery Road Alert which collects data from vehicles using sensors like those in the traction and stability control systems. If one car slides, it sends an alert to the cloud so nearby vehicles get a dashboard notification if they're approaching a slippery section.
Volvo says that its research shows adjusting speeds to traffic conditions and situations increase safety. Connected vehicle technologies can help provide the warnings to adjust speeds.