Volvo Cars introduces ‘Accident Ahead Alert’

Volvo Cars’ connected safety technology can now alert drivers of accidents ahead. You’re driving down a winding country road. It’s impossible to see beyond the bends in front of you. Suddenly, your Volvo car alerts you: there’s been an accident ahead, just around the bend.

“With our new ‘Accident Ahead Alert’, we introduce another pioneering connected safety feature in Volvo cars,’ says the press release. “For the first time, cars can alert drivers of accidents ahead directly using real-time data from a traffic management center. It will be available in compatible Volvo cars in Europe, starting from Denmark.”

Instant alert

With the aim to help drivers avoid collisions and traffic congestion caused by accidents ahead, the feature is designed to instantly alert the driver about a traffic accident up to a few hundred meters ahead. The location data is provided by national road authorities and compatible cars, starting with other Volvo cars.

“Using our groundbreaking connected safety technology, our Accident Ahead Alert can help Volvo drivers avoid unpleasant surprises while contributing to making roads safer for all,” says Åsa Haglund, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

“Thanks to our collaboration with the Danish Road Directorate and other partners in the Data for Road Safety ecosystem, we can introduce this new feature and continue our leadership in safety innovations,” she added.

“We’re happy that Volvo Cars, as the first car maker, has started using our new real-time traffic event data feed,” says Stine Bendsen, head of the Danish Traffic Management Center at the Danish Road Directorate.

“A quick alert about an accident ahead gives the driver more time to slow down and increase the distance to the car in front. This helps to lower the risk of follow-up collisions and protect the people working to clear the road.”

Connecting cars and collecting other data

Volvo Cars already introduced connected safety technology in 2016, using Volvo Cars’ cloud, based on real-time data. It allows Volvo cars to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards. In the same way, drivers can now be alerted to accidents ahead regardless of the time of the day.

For Volvo car owners, it’s easy to contribute to road safety by opting for data sharing: they can simply activate it using the “connected safety” option in their car’s center display.

The car will then be able to alert the driver of an accident ahead by using the hazard light alert on the dashboard and, if available, the head-up display. Only the essential information will be shared with other cars, and the data will be anonymized to ensure privacy.

“Looking ahead, we’re planning to integrate more traffic data shared by other partners in the European Data for Road Safety ecosystem, including national traffic management centers in other countries and cars from other brands,” concludes the press release.

Trustworthiness is essential

In a short chat we had with Åsa Haglund, she stressed the trustworthiness of the data and the warnings that come out of it are essential. “To keep people safe, one needs trustworthy data. This requires engagement from different directions.”

“As a manufacturer, we have to make sure that the information is qualitative and that it can be shared at any time via the instrumentation display and audible warnings, even when the navigation system isn’t in use,” Haglund stresses.

The quality of the information is, of course, also dependent on the quality of the traffic management centers that deliver data. In many countries, a serious exercise has to be run to regroup all collected data into info that is useful for the drivers. That means that it has to be up-to-date and available in real-time.

“But the role of the driver is also essential. He/she has to consent to the connectivity of his/her car. This means that he/she is willing to become part of the system,” Haglund concludes.

Spreading

The Accident Ahead Alert feature is currently available in Denmark on all 90, 60, and 40 series Volvo car models from model year 2016 and onwards. It will be made available on the same car models in more European markets soon.

In all EU countries, links have to be established with the centers coordinating the data that are required. In Belgium, for example, Volvo Cars has already been collaborating with the traffic institute Vias on the matter.

To be effective, the system also has to be expanded to include the data systems of other manufacturers’ cars. Volvo Cars seems to be confident that its colleague manufacturers (but also competitors) are willing to collaborate on this matter. The on-board diagnostic systems (OBDs) of modern cars are able to provide the info. Now, everybody has to show the will to do it.

 

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