Volvo Cloud Technology: Slippery Road Alert for Starters
At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona earlier this month Volvo Cars introduced the new connected car program they’ve been developing with Ericsson. This futuristic technology will be on the roads soon. It will have the leading role in the upcoming field test.
They’re going to equip a thousand vehicles with the advanced technology and they’re going to roam across Sweden and Norway in order to research how the new connected car system will work in real world conditions.
Klas Bendrik, Vice President and Group CIO at Volvo Cars Group said:
“Imagine a world where road status data collected by cars is shared with other road users and with local authorities through a connected car cloud such as the Volvo Cloud: A world where the benefits of anonymized data-sharing support convenience and life-saving services while helping to contribute to a better society. Volvo Cars is working on realizing such a future scenario.
So, what’s this all about? Volvo Cars is well known for large leaps in the automotive world. These are the people who invented the three-point seatbelt, after all. And now they’re going to implement the modern technology to improve almost all the aspects of the contemporary traffic. Using the cloud technology and the vehicle’s 4G LTE connection, every single vehicle can become a source and a user of vital information.
The technology will provide real-time warnings about all the possible hazards on the road: dangerous weather, ice on the road etc. However, it can also be used for optimizing traffic flow, improving the traffic lights intervals, making service calls, providing charging support for electric vehicles, adapt vehicle speed to the real-time conditions, make better travel plans, remotely diagnose vehicle problems etc.
The first thing to be tested is going to be the slippery-road alert. The 1,000-car fleet will send the information not just to the Volvo Cloud and, therefore, the other drivers who are participating in the program, but to the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, too.
“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,” Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) at Volvo Cars says. “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 explained.
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Not just that the shared information can be used directly by the drivers on the same road. The information is crucial for the road administrators. They’re going to improve road maintenance in general by shortening their response time for any particular road issue.
“If a Volvo car detects that it is slippery on a certain stretch of road, for example, it can make other connected cars aware of this via the Volvo Cloud so they are forewarned. Such connected car services could deliver both personal and societal benefits by reducing the potential for accidents and lowering the cost of road maintenance by making winter road maintenance more efficient,” said Klas Bendrik. “Car makers have the potential to deliver real benefits to society by democratizing anonymized car data. This is something that Volvo Cars feels very strongly about.”
At first, the Volvo Cloud system will have only two features – slippery-road and hazard-light alerts, but it’s certain that there are a number of features that can be added later and be very useful. There’s no doubt the technology is very lucrative. It’s a matter of time before the insurance and marketing companies start using this technology, but if it’s the price of lives being saved, we could probably live with that.
Photos: Volvo Car Group