Volvo has joined forces with the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) to test a new form of inter-car road safety communication.
The new system can detect road surfaces affected by snow and ice, and share that information with other cars close by which are using the same stretch of road, all via the ‘cloud’ using the mobile phone network.
The communication will eventually make winter driving safer and road maintenance more efficient, as parts of the Northern Hemisphere are currently emerging from severe winter driving conditions from last season, particularly the US.
The warning message appears on the display screen within the instrument cluster, with more and less severe warning levels displayed differently, so the driver is fully aware of the road conditions ahead.
As several cars report that driving conditions on the same section of road have deteriorated, maintenance crews will be better able to target problem ‘cold spots’ to improve safety and keep traffic moving.
The environment would also benefit from a reduction in the amount of salt used, and Volvo assures future customers that the information broadcast from their vehicles would be grouped with other motorists, and would not include specifics about the driver or their car.
“The pilot is one of the first practical examples of the way communication between vehicles over the mobile network enables vehicles to ‘speak’ to each other and with the traffic environment, which can contribute to making traffic safer,” Volvo’s Erik Israelsson said.
“We have 50 test cars on the roads, and next winter the fleet will grow considerably. Our aim is to make the technology available for our customers within a few years.”
Mr Israelsson said the new system is “only the beginning” for cloud-based inter-vehicle communication, as Volvo continues the push towards zero fatalities or serious injuries in its new cars by 2020.