The next generation of Volvo cars are set to be the company’s safest ever, thanks to cutting-edge software and hardware levels, coupled with continuous and more rapid improvements to safety features with the help of real-time data.
Volvo Cars has always taken a data-driven approach to safety, using traffic data from real-life situations to develop new safety technologies and make its cars even safer. For its next generation of cars, Volvo Cars is now looking towards processing data from customer cars in real time, if customers choose to share data and help Volvo Cars make its cars safer.
By allowing customers to choose and be a part of improving safety levels and traffic safety in this way, Volvo Cars can make continuous and much faster improvements to its cars, constantly improving safety levels. This data would include continuous inputs on the car’s environment from sensors such as the high-resolution LiDAR delivered by technology company Luminar.
Volvo Cars engineers would be able to validate and verify autonomous drive (AD) features quicker, to promote a safe roll-out of AD technology. Thanks to the data generated from millions of kilometres driven by tens of thousands of Volvo drivers around the globe, engineers would be able to validate AD features for specific geographic locations much quicker than with a limited number of cars on a test track.
Verified updates to existing systems and new features can be rolled out rapidly through over-the-air-updates, increasing the safety of Volvo cars step by step. The first car to benefit from this new approach to safety development is the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base.
“With help from real-life data we can speed up our development processes and go from years to days,” said Ödgärd Andersson, CEO at Zenseact, Volvo Cars’ autonomous driving software arm. “As real-time collection generates a lot more data, we can create better and higher-quality data sets that allow us to make better and quicker decisions on the next advancements in safety. We’re taking a giant leap to increase safety in and around our cars.”
To process the real-time traffic data they will collect, Volvo Cars and Zenseact are investing in a data factory that will contain more than 200 PebiBytes (225 million gigabytes) of data within the next few years. By using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, data can be crunched at record times. Customers will be able to choose whether this data is collected about them, and all collected data will be aggregated with adequate safeguards for customer privacy.
“Safety is part of our heritage and the backbone of our company, but software is a crucial part of our modern-day DNA,” said Mats Moberg, Head of R&D at Volvo Cars. “So while we continue to build on the 50-year expertise of the industry-leading Volvo Cars Accident Research Team, we can now also leverage AI as a new, virtual accident research team.”
The use of real-time data is part of Volvo Cars’ longer-term vision for a future where collisions simply no longer happen, by equipping its cars with some of the best sensors available and advanced, continuously improving safety and autonomous drive systems.
Volvo Cars’ forthcoming fully electric flagship SUV will have industry-leading safety technology as standard, helping the company to save even more lives as it sets a new standard for automotive safety. It will come with state-of-the-art sensors, including a LiDAR developed by Luminar and an autonomous driving computer powered by the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin™ system-on-a-chip, as standard.
By combining this state-of-the-art hardware with software by Volvo Cars, Zenseact and Luminar for the next generation of its well-established collision-avoidance technology, Volvo Cars expects its new safety package to reduce fatalities and accidents as a whole.
Over time, the car will improve and have the hardware and software capabilities to allow the car to take over on its own in case the driver does not respond in life-threatening situations after repeated warnings. So while the driver always remains in ultimate control, the car and its safety technology can both support and watch over the driver like an extra pair of eyes and a brain.