The weather in Europe is warming up, but Volvo is preparing for an icy winter ahead by rolling out a system that will let cars communicate and warn one another about slippery roads and other hazards.
Winters in Volvo's homeland Sweden can be harsh, with temperatures dropping as low as -30C, so it makes sense to prepare well in advance.
Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced to Volvo 90 series cars in Sweden and Norway in 2016, and proved so successful they're now being added to all new model cars in Europe from 2020 onwards, with retrofitting available for some older models.
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The idea is that, by warning drivers in advance that the road ahead is likely to be slippery, the system will give them time to prepare and slow down.
"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "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."
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Hazard Light Alert is a simple idea, but effective: when a Volvo fitted with the system flips on its hazard lights, a signal is sent to all connected cars warning them of a potential danger on that stretch of road.
Slippery Road Alert is more automated, collecting anonymous data on the condition of the road surface from cars further up the road, and warning those behind about any potential slick patches well in advance.
"The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become," said Ekholm. "We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety."