Ever the champion of safety, Volvo Cars is stepping into a couple of initiatives to make roads safer for all users.
The company has joined forces with other automakers, service providers and governments in a Europe-wide pilot project to share traffic safety data gathered from vehicles and from infrastructure.
The European Data Task Force (founded in 2017) also counts BMW, Ford and Mercedes-Benz as members, as well as mapping and locations service providers HERE and Tom Tom, and the countries of The Netherlands (through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), Spain (Ministry of Home Affairs La Subdirección General de Gestión de la Movilidad DGT), Finland (Transport and Communications Agency TRAFICOM), Germany (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) and Luxembourg (Ministry of the Economy).
The data is supplied anonymously via the cloud, which the partners can then share to warn other road users of potential dangers ahead of them in real time.
“We think this type of anonymised data sharing should be done for free, for the greater good and to the wider benefit of society. It saves lives, time and taxpayer money,” said Volvo President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson said at the 2017 launch of the project. “I call on other car makers and governments to work with us on realising this type of data sharing as widely as possible.”
Volvo’s alert systems are able to communicate vehicle to vehicle (V2V), sharing traffic and road conditions. The technology was introduced in 2016 and is currently available on all new Volvos in Europe. The company currently openly shares data gathered by its cars and trucks in Norway and Sweden.
“The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become,” said Malin Ekholm, Head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “That is why the European Data Task Force is such an important initiative. We hope to bring on board even more partners who share our commitment to safety.”
Volvo is also conducting a new round of test crashes to help improve bike-helmet effectiveness, in partnership with Swedish sports and safety brand POC.
The testing involves putting POC bike helmets on crash-test dummy heads and firing them at different areas of the vehicle’s hood, based on existing regulatory procedures for head protection and allowing the partners to make a comparison between wearing and not wearing a helmet.
Current bike-helmet tests involve dropping them onto a concrete platform (flat and angled) from various heights
“This project with POC is a good example of our pioneering spirit in safety,” said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “We often develop new testing methods for challenging traffic scenarios. Our aim is not only to meet legal requirements or pass rating tests. Instead we go beyond ratings, using real traffic situations to develop technology that further improves safety.”
“Much like Volvo Cars, safety is at the very centre of our mission and drives all our ideas and innovations,” added Oscar Huss, head of product development at POC. “By working closely with scientific leaders in the POC Lab we strive to lead the way in introducing new safety ideas. Certification standards are essential, but they should never limit our willingness to look beyond their parameters to find better and more innovative ways to reduce the consequences of accidents.”
Volvo and POC had previously worked on a pilot to connect bike helmets and vehicles in order to help avoid bicycle/vehicle collisions.