Safety First

New Volvo tech allows sensed road conditions info to be set to municipalities, Waze

V2V communication allows vehicles to connect to each other.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

You might not have gotten in an accident if you know the road ahead of you was covered with ice. You may have known that the road was covered with ice if that digital sign you pass on the highway had a message announcing slippery conditions ahead.

A new partnership between Volvo and Waycare Technologies will enable data from Volvo's Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert to be anonymously shared with transportation municipalities and Waze.

Starting with 2021 model year vehicles, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert will allow certain Volvo cars to communicate with each other. The models will be able to automatically alert other Volvo drivers via a cloud-based network when the vehicle's hazard lights are turned on or low friction is detected, and the system is properly connected to the internet.

Volvo Waycare Technologies Waze safety communicationInformation sharing between cars can give a driver more knowledge about the unknowns of the roadway ahead.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

This isn't the first time the system has been implemented. It was introduced in 2016 on 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway.

Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert now come as standard equipment on all model year 2021 Volvo cars sold in the U.S. Owners will be able to choose to activate the features via the car's infotainment screen and can opt-out/deactivate them at any time.

In addition to road conditions, the Daycare partnership allows Volvos to share data with other sources including city infrastructure, telematics, and weather forecasts.

Behind the scenes, Waycare will then use artificial intelligence to synthesize the data and provide operational insights local U.S. transportation industries (think: New York State Thruway Authority, your local public works department, and the Michigan State Police). Using the information, agencies can choose to push notifications to drivers using the 5-1-1 system, social media, or a series of road sign alerts.

"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. "Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead."

Connected safety data-sharing between Volvo cars is available throughout the U.S. Connected safety data sharing with Waycare and its partners is currently available at locations where Waycare has their traffic Management Platform including Nevada, Central Ohio, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, San Francisco/Bay Area, and western Florida. Waycare has plans to expand to other areas in the future.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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New electric SUV

Cadillac kicks off Lyriq EV production

The new SUV is being built in Spring Hill, TN.

General Motors

General Motors is moving more intentionally than most in its goal to become an electric automaker. New GM EVs will start to arrive in rapid succession over the next few years, and even luxury brand Cadillac is getting in on the action. The Lyriq is Cadillac's electric SUV that features sharp styling, an upscale interior, and solid electric range. Today, Cadillac announced that production of the new SUV has begun.

Spring Hill LYRIQ Sizzle Reelyoutu.be

The SUV is being built at GM's Spring Hill, TN plant, where its Saturn brand operated for several years. The facility for a $2 billion overhaul to prepare for production, and the GM team finished the project ahead of schedule. The facility currently produces the Cadillac XT5 and XT6, along with the GMC Acadia. General Motors notes that the factory overhaul took place in the midst of vehicle production, and says that the team pulled off Lyriq prep while still working on the factory's three existing products.

Reservations for the electrified Caddy sold out almost immediately. The SUV is expected to have an electric driving range of more than 400 miles and it will ride on GM's new Ultium architecture, which underpins many of the auto giant's new electric vehicles. Pricing is expected to start around $60,000 when the Cadillac goes on sale this year as a 2023 model.

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