Cloud allows trucks and cars to talk to each other

Swedish truck maker Volvo has unveiled a cloud-based Connected Safety service that enables vehicles to communicate with each other about hazardous road conditions.

The partnership will see data being shared between Volvo trucks sold in Sweden and Norway, and Volvo cars equipped with the Hazard Light Alert system.

Hazard Light Alert has been available in Sweden and Norway since 2016, where it is standard on all 90 and 60 series cars, as well as the XC40. Adding selected models of Volvo Trucks’ fleet to the cloud will cover more areas, identify more potential hazards, and boost overall traffic safety by detecting when a car has its hazard lights activated and sharing the information with other cloud users in the vicinity.

The move is unusual in that, although sharing a brand name, Volvo Cars and Volvo Truck and Bus are two completely separate businesses, with the car division now part of the Chinese automotive group, Geely Holdings.

The move is the first instance of Volvo Cars sharing safety-related data with another company – a step towards achieving a critical mass of connected vehicles that could have a significant impact on traffic safety.

“Expanded cooperation between different players is one of the most important keys to improved road safety,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director at Volvo Trucks.

“If more vehicles are able to exchange real-time information about the traffic situation, it will lower the risk of accidents. With Connected Safety we are opening the door to the future, with the hope that more vehicle manufacturers will join in.”

He added that a vehicle standing still by the roadside in poor visibility risks being hit from the rear, which can have severe consequences. “An alert issued well in advance gives all drivers of nearby cars and trucks the same opportunity to reduce speed, adjust their driving to the traffic situation, and avoid a collision,” he explained.

Malin Ekholm, vice president of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, said that sharing real-time safety data based on his company’s connected safety technology can help avoid accidents.

“The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We look forward to establishing further collaborations with other partners who share our commitment to traffic safety,” he said.