3/20/2014

Volvo Tests Cloud-Based Icy Road Warning System

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Volvo Car Group and the Swedish Transport Administration are testing a system that enables a car to instantly alert others around it when it encounters an icy patch on the road.

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Volvo Car Group and the Swedish Transport Administration are testing a system that enables a car to instantly alert others around it when it encounters an icy patch on the road.

The cloud-based system can signal approaching vehicles as far as one kilometer away by triggering a warning on their instrument panels. The technology is able to adjust the type of warning to the vehicle's current speed and severity of the problem ahead.

Volvo hopes to add the feature to its production vehicles in a few years.

The system works by transmitting a warning via cellular signal from the detecting car to Volvo's database. The database identifies other vehicles in the vicinity and sends them an alert. The current pilot test involves 50 specially equipped test cars, but Volvo says it will greatly expand the fleet next winter.

Volvo points out that deploying the warning system across a large number of vehicles would help snow removal crews target their activities and reduce the application of road salt to areas that truly need it. The company describes the system as the first in a series of increasingly sophisticated cloud-based services it hopes to introduce as vehicle connectivity spreads.