Volvo to debut car-to-car communication this year
Volvo will launch car-to-car communication in its top model line in Europe before the end of the year, joining Mercedes-Benz and Toyota on a shortlist of automakers offering systems that allow vehicles to exchange information, giving the driver advanced warning about poor road conditions or obstacles further ahead.
The Swedish automaker earlier this month released details on its of its cloud-based solution at the launch of the new V90 Cross Country, which it just one of the models that will offer the technology.
"All vehicles in the 90 series - the S90, V90 and XC90 -- will be equipped with it as of the end of this year," Volvo Senior Vice President for r&d Peter Mertens told Automotive News Europe.
Mercedes announced in January that the E class would be its first series-production model with fully integrated car-to-car communication. Mercedes' system is already active in combination with the Comand Online infotainment system and is available in 20 European markets, the U.S. and China.
Mercedes' and Volvo's technology differs from the system that Toyota debuted in the Crown last year in Japan. Variants of Toyota's midsize luxury sedan that are equipped with its so-called intelligent transportation system (ITS) transmit data between cars and the infrastructure using a 760-megahertz frequency.
The Crown can "talk" with similarly equipped cars as well as receive warnings sent by emergency vehicles and information about a traffic light that is about to change from the transportation infrastructure.
Slippery road ahead
Volvo's solution, which it co-developed with Swedish telecom company Ericsson, will be able to send and receive warnings on slick roads and other hazards.
The slippery-road alert is activated based on road-friction information from the car's steering, braking and acceleration sensors.
The other warning is activated when the hazard lights are used, giving connected motorists a pre-warning about oncoming problems or a vehicle that is stuck in a dangerous position.
"We use a cloud-based system so we don't need to have a direct link between the vehicles," Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said while presenting the technology. "It allows us to analyze the information and to look for the ideal distribution to other cars." A data connection to the internet in the car is required for the system to work.
More countries, more rivals
Volvo's system is similar to the one Mercedes uses in the E class, although Volvo executives say its solution uses a self-developed protocol. Mertens added that the technology will become more useful over time.
"Of course, it will be better when all cars are using a similar system," he said. "We will introduce it in the coming generations of our vehicles as well." Mertens added that the new system will be rolled out in other countries but declined to elaborate.
Other automakers working on similar systems include Cadillac, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover.
Cadillac aims to launch car-to-car communication in some of its 2017 models sold in the U.S. Audi is offering the Q7 and A4 with vehicle-to-infrastructure systems in so-called "smart cities" in the U.S. that include Las Vegas, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Cars with the system will display a countdown before a red light turns green and also will offer a countdown showing when it is too late to get through an approaching intersection before the light turns red.
Jaguar Land Rover will start real-time testing of car-to-car systems in the UK and in the U.S. city of Ann Arbor, Michigan.