Volvo's connected cars could make winter driving safer for everyone

With its latest research project, Volvo is hoping to make driving in inclement weather a bit less dicey. The Swedish automaker is testing a safety system that uses mobile data networks to relay icy road conditions from vehicle to vehicle. Once you hit a slick spot, the location data uploads to Volvo's database and then an instant notification is sent to other cars nearing that area. As the outfit tells it, the in-car app will adjust the warning's intensity based on your speed as well as the road conditions. Meaning that, if you're crawling up the interstate at 5MPH through a whiteout, your dashboard won't light up in the way that, say, someone's would if they were doing 88MPH.

What's more, the system will transmit the pavement-friction data to maintenance crews, so more (or less) salt and snowplows can be deployed in a given area, making the roads safer for everyone -- not just Volvo owners. The pilot program is limited to some 50 vehicles for now, but the firm promises that next winter the fleet'll grow "considerably."