Volvo cars are about to get even safer. Starting in 2020, Volvo is going to make two safety features standard for all its cars in Europe: the Slippery Road Alert, which collects data from other Volvos on the road to warn about slippery road sections, and the Hazard Light Alert, which tells every Volvo in an area when a Volvo has turned on its hazard lights. Although both features have been around since 2016, when Volvo released them in Sweden and Norway with its 90 Series of vehicles, this planned roll-out marks Volvo’s most widespread implementation of the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) standard, in which cars talk to each other about hazards in their environment, in this case using the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) protocol.
How Does V2X and V2V Work?
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology connects cars to each other through the cloud. Since Volvos in the cloud network are anonymous, drivers don’t receive any details about the cars that send them signals or the people driving them. For the system to work, though, drivers must keep their cloud connections turned on. The Slippery Road and Hazard Light Alerts are both aimed at preventing accidents. Currently, only the S90 sedan, V90 wagon and XC90 SUV models in Sweden and Norway have these safety features, but they can be retrofitted to other models depending on the vehicle’s architecture.
What Does the Future Hold for Volvo?
Although Volvo hasn’t mentioned a U.S. launch of its vehicle-to-vehicle technology, the company plans to roll out new safety features in the U.S. and other countries soon, including built-in speed limits of 112 mph and driver-facing cameras to monitor the driver’s level of distraction. These cameras can even intervene if the driver doesn’t respond to signals, such as by parking the vehicle on the side of the road. Volvo has publicly asked other automakers to pool data on traffic safety to improve early warning systems, and it has released all its safety research since the 1970s to help in this effort.
Others Also on Board
Volvo isn’t the only company to use vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology — Audi uses it to communicate with traffic lights, for example — but its mass implementation may be one of the biggest boons to traffic safety in years.