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Volvo Urges Governments and Car-makers to share traffic data

Volvo is currently using a cloud-based network to inform drivers of icy conditions (Photo: Volvo)

Sticking to its reputation, Swedish car-maker puts safety first – urging greater information sharing between governments and the car industry, and reiterating plan to skip Level 3 automation.

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Sticking to its reputation, Swedish car-maker puts safety first – urging greater information sharing between governments and the car industry, and reiterating plan to skip Level 3 automation.

Speaking at the 1st European Conference on Connected and Automated Driving in Brussels this week, Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson made two clear statements on the future of road safety. The first about traffic data, the second about Level 3 automation.

On the topic of data, Samuelsson called for car-makers and governments to take steps to increase traffic data sharing in real time to improve global road safety. As reported by Electronics360, the company is already involved in such a scheme. For the past two years, Volvo has been sharing data with local authorities in Sweden and Norway. They have developed a system that enables anonymous data to be shared via a cloud-based network. This includes updates on icy conditions and other potential hazards. Now, however, Volvo believes it is time for such data sharing to be scaled up. And they want everyone to be involved.

"We think this type of 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 Samuelsson. "I call on other car-makers and governments to work with us on realizing this type of data sharing as widely as possible."

Such systems might be essential for the second topic addressed by Samuelsson. Namely their plan to launch autonomous vehicles with Level 4 self-driving capabilities by 2021. As reported by Electronics360, during the EU event Samuelsson also repeated Volvo’s plan to skip the middle level of automation – Level 3.

"In this mode the car is in charge of the driving, yet the driver must still be prepared to take over in case of emergency, which could be a matter of a few seconds. Volvo considers this Level 3 driving mode unsafe and will thus skip this level of autonomous driving," Samuelsson said.  

This statement comes at a time where a number of countries are reexamining the different levels of automation. As reported by the BBC, the UK Lords Science and Technology Committee recently suggested that Level 3 automation presents risks that are "too great to tolerate"; whilst in Germany, as reported by local newspaper Die Zeit, questions have been raised as to how drivers should know when they are supposed to take over when driving with Level 3. New legislation determines that drivers are allowed to assume other tasks during the car ride as long as they stay vigilant and would be ready take over under certain conditions. The German Bundesrat (a constitutional and legislative body at the federal level) has asked for clarification regarding so-called "obvious circumstances" that require the driver to take over.

Find the BBC article here, the Electronics360 article here and the Die Zeit article here.

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