Volvo uses 1000 test cars for sharing road-condition information

Volvo Cars, along with the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration have put 1000 test cars on a project to enable cars to share information about conditions that relate to road friction (such as icy patches). The information will be shared through a cloud-based network and with the test fleet now expanding from about 50 cars to 1000, Volvo expects to make the technology available to customers within a few years’ time. The development of sophisticated communication via the mobile network is part of the Volvo’s aim to offer customers a fully connected experience and the hazard-light and slippery-road alerts are the first safety features in the Volvo cloud.

“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 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,” Erik Israelsson continues.

The research project is getting closer to real-world implementation now with the technology in place and the testing and validation phase is about to begin. In this phase, Volvo Cars will expand the test fleet 20-fold and also broaden the test area to include two cities - Gothenburg and Oslo. Data from these tests will provide a more complete picture of how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions.

The slippery-road alert also sends information about icy patches to road administrators as a complement, where they can plan and execute winter road maintenance better and quickly address changed conditions. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will also conduct an independent assessment of the system to identify additional uses for the data in aiding future winter road maintenance.

“In the future we will have increased the exchange of vital information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure,” says Erik Israelsson. “There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and improved traffic flow. 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,” concludes Erik Israelsson.

Source : CarDekho