Volvo is working to make icy roads just a bit less dangerous for drivers, using the help of others on the road. By gathering weather information from a vehicle via a cloud-based system, road conditions will be shared to other drivers nearby. In addition to increasing safety, Volvo also hopes to have an environmental impact with the new technology.
Currently, when dangerous conditions appear, snow plows and salt are among the steps taken to maintain safer roads. However, when the conditions of the road are unknown, or quickly escalating, not all the roads can be taken care of efficiently or fast enough. With the new system, a car that passes over an icy slick will send a notification both to nearby drivers and, after multiple cars send a signal of dangerous conditions, to road maintenance vehicles.
By using the signals from cars, the system aims to both create more efficient road maintenance and lessen the impact on the environment. Certain methods of ice reduction, like salt, can have a negative impact on the environment surrounding the roads. The system will help to reduce the use of these methods when they are not necessary.
The slippery road alerts are Volvo’s first step into the connected vehicle system. This system, they hope, will be in all new vehicles by 2020, and will decrease the amount of accidents and injuries on the road. They are also working to increase safety by creating additional alerts, such traffic flow notifications.