Imagine a scenario where a distracted driver heading toward a red traffic light is moments away from crashing into another vehicle travelling through the intersection on a green light.
Now, imagine these two vehicles could communicate with each other and stop before an impact. That’s the dream for Volvo.
Thomas Broberg, senior technical advisor at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, told CarExpert that Volvo is working with government and industry to formalise a communication protocol.
“There are sort of standardisation dialogues ongoing in the industry and also within with governments. So sort of how to communicate with each other,” said Mr Broberg.
“The difficult part, I think, from an OEM perspective is that you have different markets, having different approaches and of course from an OEM prospective it we would be easier if it’s harmonised, but usually the Europeans… the Americans, and China, they’re usually different.”
Mr Broberg admitted that while the government is driving the agenda, it’s an item that the entire industry wants to advance.
Fatal crashes have widespread repercussions not only on those involved in the crash, but first responders, medical costs associated with caring for injured drivers and the litany of costs involved with insurance premiums and the flow on effect of repairs.
“We’re providing our input, but it’s usually the governments are driving it, and they have a good agenda. I mean, it’s, it’s, as I said, it’s a societal problem. And it’s also an economical problem, to have fatalities and injuries in traffic. It’s very costly for not only for the individuals very painful, but it’s also very costly,” said Mr Broberg.
Most new cars, especially premium vehicles, are connected to the cloud in some way and include fairly accurate waypoint data, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to see a world where that data is transmitted in a fast enough fashion to prevent potentially fatal accidents.
It would be a game changer for the car industry, particularly when it comes to autonomous vehicles.
Mr Broberg mused that if cars never existed and somebody came up with the concept tomorrow of a car, communications protocols like this would surely be one of the first objectives before the first car ever hit the road.
“If I were to go to any authority in the world today, and I come and I say I have this new great innovation for individual transportation, it’s called the car. It has four wheels and you can drive it on your own. It has one thing, though. It will kill 30,000 Europeans each year. Do you think that would have been allowed? Probably not,” he said.
“If we look at any other sort of consumer items that we have today, that is not acceptable, but in road traffic, we have sort of over the years accepted that there are are risks associated even though the risk is extremely small.
“The risk is there. And if you look at the pure numbers, it’s, it’s mind-blowing. So to create that awareness, I think is important and that’s why these statements are important.”