Volvo Cars is making its connected safety technology available to U.S. drivers as another step in its ambitions to improve traffic safety.
A new partnership with Waycare Technologies, will enable data from Volvo’s Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert to be anonymously shared with transportation municipalities and the popular Waze navigation app.
From model year 2021, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert will allow certain Volvo cars to communicate with each other and automatically alert other Volvo drivers via a cloud-based network when the vehicle’s hazard lights are turned on or low friction is detected, and the system is properly connected to the internet.
First introduced in 2016 on 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert now come as standard equipment on all model year 2021 Volvo cars sold in the U.S. Volvo car owners can choose to activate the features via the vehicle’s tablet-like infotainment screen and can deactivate the features at any time.
Through the Waycare partnership, Volvo Cars is able to share anonymous connected safety data for integration with other data sources including city infrastructure, telematics and weather forecasts. Waycare then uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to synthesize the data and provide operational insights and decision support to local U.S. transportation agencies. These agencies can further push these insights to public feeds such as the 5-1-1 transportation and traffic information telephone hotline to notify the public of at-risk traffic locations. Waycare is also able to share synthesized data with the Waze navigation app in areas where this feature has been enabled.
By leveraging real-time insights from Volvo cars to alert other drivers of upcoming road hazards, which may provide drivers with time to adjust their driving behavior, Volvo and Waycare aim to improve road safety.
“Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents,” said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. “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.”
Safety research by Volvo Cars shows that adjusting speeds to the actual traffic situation can radically reduce the risk for accidents. By alerting people to dangers ahead in a timely manner and allowing them time to adapt with time to spare, connected safety technologies can support better driver behavior and boost traffic safety.
Sharing such data in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety and can become more impactful as more cars become connected.
“The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety,” Ekholm said.
Anders Gustafsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car USA said, “Enhancing safety for all is at the core of the Volvo brand. By enabling our cars to share potential road hazards with each other and with the public, we believe we can help make roads safer.”
“Volvo’s slippery road and hazard light data provides an important new dimension to Waycare’s AI driven traffic management platform,” said Noam Maital, CEO of Waycare Technologies. “The data will further power our platform’s ability to provide early incident identification and use of predictive analytics for proactive traffic management operations.”
Connected safety data-sharing between Volvo cars is available throughout the U.S. Connected safety data sharing with Waycare and its partners is currently available at locations where Waycare has their traffic Management Platform including Nevada, Central Ohio, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, San Francisco/Bay Area, and western Florida. Waycare has plans to expand to other areas in the future.
Volvo Cars has made several announcements aimed at supporting better driver behavior and safer driving. From 2020, all new Volvo cars are speed-limited at 112 mph.
Finally, the company announced that for the first time, it is making its safety knowledge easily accessible in a central digital library, which it urges the car industry to use in the interest of safer roads for all.