Gothenburg, Sweden - One of the key aspects of autonomous driving is that all vehicles, regardless of who made them, will have to communicate with each other (V2V) and with the roads infrastructure through which they travel (V2X), sharing vital road-safety information in real time.
That’s how humans do it, after all, sharing information with other drivers about our intention to slow down or turn by means of brake lights and indicators, by switching on our hazard lights when we're stranded and being informed by the infrastructure just who has right of way by means of Stop signs and red lights.
But in order to work it has to be universal - a driver who ignores the information around him will crash, as will a self-driving car that doesn’t understand the signals it’s receiving.
Now Volvo has taken its first step towards that universality by partnering with Volvo Trucks (which is not the same company) to expand the coverage of their online safety technologies by sharing real-time data, using a cloud-based system that allows vehicles to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby hazards.
From 2018, Volvo cars fitted with the company’s hazard light alert system will share live, anonymised data with Volvo trucks sold in Norway and Sweden with online hazard alert systems.
As soon as the hazard lights of a Volvo car that has the alert system are switched on, it sends an alert to all nearby Volvos that are connected to the cloud service, warning drivers to help avoid potential collisions, which can be a life-saver if you’re stranded around a corner or on the wrong side of a blind rise.
The system has been standard on all Volvo 90 and 60 series models, as well as the XC40, in norway and Sweden since; adding Volvo trucks to the ‘cloud fleet’ will cover will cover more area, identify more potential hazards and boost overall traffic safety, say the makers.
Volvo Cars Safety Centre vice-president Malin Ekholm said: “Sharing data via our connected safety technology can help avoid accidents; the more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become.
“The ability to see further ahead and avoid hazards is something we want to share with as many drivers as possible, and we look forward to collaborating with more partners who share our commitment to traffic safety.”
That commitment, he pointed out, was what led Volvo to open the patent for the three-point seatbelt to all other car makers in 1959.