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Volvo tests ice-detection system

Ice breaker: The communication system transfers information about the road conditions to other road users and the local roads authority via Volvo’s cloud.

Car-to-car warning system in future Volvos alerts other cars of slippery conditions

24 Mar 2014

FUTURE Volvos could feature communication technology that allows the car to ‘speak’ to other vehicles on the road, alerting them to ice and slippery conditions.

The car-maker is collaborating with the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) for the pilot program which will share information about the road’s condition via a cloud-based system.

If the system detects icy or slippery conditions on a section of the road, this information is then transmitted to a Volvo database via a mobile phone network.

A warning is then transmitted to other vehicles that are approaching the area that are also on the Volvo database, allowing them to take action to avoid the icy patch.

This is communicated via a ‘slippery road’ warning on the instrument cluster, and Volvo said in a statement that the warning can be adapted depending on how severe the conditions are and the speed the vehicle is travelling.

As well as communicating with other cars in the area, the system sends the information to the local administrator in charge of roads to help them with their own maintenance.

Volvo currently has 50 test cars on the road with plans to expand this in the next Northern Hemisphere winter and the Swedish brand hopes to make the technology available to customers on its passenger cars and SUVs within “a few years”.

Volvo Cars project leader for cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) Erik Israelsson said of all of the safety systems developed by Volvo, this is the first one that uses the cloud.

He said that the road detection system is part of the company’s focus on developing high-tech communication options and providing a fully-connected experience for its drivers.

“This is only the beginning. In the future we will have increased exchange of vital information between vehicles,” he said. “There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and an improved traffic flow.”“The strategic focus on connectivity within our new Scalable Product Architecture paves the way for more cloud-based safety solutions. This will bring us closer to our safety vision that nobody should die or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.”

Volvo is currently partnering with European research centres, universities and government agencies in developing new technologies, including a wireless EV charger for the home and autonomous driving.

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