On March 18th 2018, Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking…
In 2016, automobile manufacturer Volvo Cars launched its Hazard Light Alert technology, a novel approach to traffic safety. By connecting its vehicles through a cloud based internet service, specially equipped Volvo cars are now able to alert other connected vehicles as soon as they switch on their hazard lights.
Although the initial launch of Volvo’s Connected Cars cloud service was limited to just Norway and Sweden, the implications and possible applications of the technology are far reaching.
In theory, this could allow cars to transmit a variety of different safety information to other nearby vehicles, such as the presence of icy roads or the upcoming scene of a car crash on the highway, and allow drivers to anticipate these hazardous conditions in real-time.
“Connected safety allows Volvo drivers to virtually ‘see around the corner’ and avoid a critical situation or accident before it happens,” explains Vice President of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, Malin Ekholm.
In this way, the cloud based service could help to eliminate the threat of traditional driver blindspots, such as tight corners and hill crests.
Volvo Cars is keenly aware, however, that the main problem with the current technology is its limited scope. For a service like this to be effective, it needs to be able to consistently deliver relevant traffic safety information to drivers. And for that to happen, there needs to be a much larger number of connected cars than are currently on the road.
“Sharing real-time safety data based on our connected safety technology can help avoid accidents,” Malin Ekholm said, “The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become.”
It’s with this idea in mind that Volvo Cars has recently announced a partnership with Volvo Trucks, aimed at extending the scope and coverage of their Connected Cars service.
Perhaps more significant, however, was the suggestion of future partnerships beyond this. Ekholm added that Volvo Cars “look[s] forward to establishing further collaborations with other partners who share our commitment to traffic safety.”
For this technology to truly have a future, it first requires more connected cars on the road sharing their safety data – even if it means sharing that data with other manufacturers.