Volvo explores the benefits of connected cars

Volvo Cars has released details of its connected car programme, in which the company is exploring the potential safety, convenience and societal benefits of technology that allows cars to communicate with the world around them.

The car maker is investigating a whole range of connected car services.

As the manufacturer explained, smart cities could improve traffic flow management by optimizing traffic lights and speed limits and by offering re-routing suggestions based on real-time traffic jam alerts.

In the future, joined-up technology could give drivers real-time warnings of dangerous weather and emergency road conditions or of emergency braking by other drivers. Volvo Cars foresees the possibility of smart cities using connected street-lights to illuminate slippery road-sections in another colour when detected by a connected car, alerting other road users to dangerous road conditions.

The company has been developing slippery road detection technology for several years, and recently launched a trial of its Road Status technology in a pilot fleet of 1,000 cars that will run on Swedish and Norwegian roads.

If a Volvo car detects that it is slippery on a certain stretch of road, for example, it can make other connected cars aware of this via the Volvo Cloud so they are forewarned. Such connected car services could deliver both personal and societal benefits by reducing the potential for accidents and lowering the cost of road maintenance by making winter road maintenance more efficient, explained Klas Bendrik, vice president and group CIO at Volvo Cars Group.

One day it will also be possible to connect cloud-based technology with traffic management ecosystems in standardized forms and maximize the sharing of real-time traffic information data with other cars and with wider society, Volvo Cars believes.

Car makers have the potential to deliver real benefits to society by democratizing anonymised car data. This is something that Volvo Cars feels very strongly about, Bendrik added.

The car manufacturer is also working on driverless car technology. Last month the company presented the Drive Me autonomous driving system, which it says makes it possible to integrate self-driving cars into real traffic.

Russell Bowyer, Automotive Partner at Osborne Clarke commented “These pilots by Volvo represent an exciting development coming on top of the recent announcement here in the UK of the autonomous car trials in Bristol, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Greenwich. Technologically-wise it’s mostly there, but there now seems to be a real collective appetite to make the connected car happen and a reality on our streets.”

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