Volvo Cars is working with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration on a project that will allow cars to share information on conditions that relate to road friction, like icy patches, in order to prevent potentially deadly road incidents.
"The more information that can be shared on the road, the fewer surprises there are. And when you're driving, surprises are what you most want to avoid," says Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) at Volvo Cars, in a company statement.
Information will be sent through a cloud-based network that's being designed to improve traffic safety, according to the automaker. Since the basic technology is in place, the testing and validation phase can begin.
Volvo is looking to expand its test fleet from 50 vehicles to 1,000 and expand its test area to include two large Scandinavian cities called "Gothenburg" and "Oslo." Both of these measures should give the automaker the chance to see how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions.
The slippery-road alert is also capable of sending updates on icy patches to local road administrators as an additional road companion to current measurement stations along roadways, according to Volvo. Data sent from the alert can help road administrators plan and execute winter road maintenance in a timely fashion and address changed conditions when needed.
"In light of that, we've developed a slippery-road alert, which notifies drivers about icy patches and contributes to making winter road maintenance more efficient. We're also adding a hazard-light alert, which will tell drivers if another vehicle in the area has its hazard lights on. With these first two features, we have a great platform for developing additional safety features. This is just the beginning," Israelsson said.
The hazard-light and slippery-road alerts are just the first safety features to be added to the Volvo cloud. Volvo wants to create a fully connected experience that customers can rely on no matter what the conditions are like outside.
"There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and improved traffic flow," Israelsson added. "This will bring us closer to our safety vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. And it's another way in which the 'Designed around you' philosophy improves the driving experience."