Volvo Wants Consumers At The Heart Of The Connected Car Debate

Leading officials and automotive experts gathered in Washington, D.C. last Thursday, Oct. 3, to discuss “The Safety Benefits of Connected Cars.”

Hosted by the Embassy of Sweden and Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars), the seminar explored the safety advantages of connected vehicles and the challenges faced by an industry keen to align on a vision for driverless cars.

Volvo said subjects such as cyber security, legislation, infrastructure and environmental implications dominated the session and attracted an audience keen to debate the future of a technology that has grabbed the attention of drivers around the world.

Enabling vehicles to communicate with each other as well as with highway infrastructure opens up possibilities that allows information to be shared and exchanged – creating a more comfortable, environmentally friendly and safer drive, per Volvo. Information such as temporary road blocks, crash disturbances and approaching emergency vehicles can help drivers make more informed driving decisions with the support of this consumer centric technology.

“The Connected Car technology will be developed step by step in an evolutionary process so sensors will have to improve, connectivity has to be available, and cars need to be able to talk to each other as well as infrastructure,” said Peter Mertens,  Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Cars, during the debate. “It is very important that we focus on the consumer and ensure he/she is at the centre of all of our activities, the Volvo way – Designed Around You. By doing this, we expect customers to rapidly embrace connected car solutions in the future.”

Volvo Cars declared in a press release that it believes that Connected Car technologies are an important part of its ambition to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries. These technologies further support Volvo Cars’ vision that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.

Volvo took the occasion to remind that over 90 percent of all crashes in the U.S. are a result of driver error while 6 percent of all accidents and 3 percent of all fatalities are caused by slippery road conditions; 10 percent of all traffic fatalities at intersections are the result of red-light violations.

Volvo Cars also conducted the first ever demonstration in the US of Adaptive Cruise Control with Steer Assist in real traffic conditions, a technology that it said paves the way for full autonomous driving . At the push of a button, the technology automatically follows the preceding vehicle in slow-moving lines of traffic traveling at speeds of under 31mph. Radar sensors and a camera help to automatically maintain a set distance with the vehicle in front and steers the car to keep it within its lane.

Volvo said the Connected Car technology is further enhanced by two partnerships the company has entered into to develop driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. Volvo Cars has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to evaluate ways to measure the state of a driver and analyze drowsiness, workload, stress levels and heart conditions. In addition, a partnership with the Californian based company HERE (formerly known as NAVTEQ), is being explored to evaluate the best way of finding efficient map data for autonomous driving applications, an essential component for the advancement of autonomous driving.