Volvo taught its cars to warn each other about icy roads

The Swedish company is also offering a “hazard light alert” across Europe. If one vehicle turns on its hazard lights, others get notified. While Volvo has already offered this features for a couple years in Sweden and Norway, they’re now rolling it out to the rest of Europe.

This kind of network-powered safety feature, coming straight from the car—as opposed to a smartphone app—is a “logical next step” in the field, says Christoph Mertz, a principal project scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Incorporating this type of technology into traditional cars also represents a type of halfway point between older, low-tech cars at one end of the spectrum, and fully autonomous vehicles, like those operated by Waymo, Cruise, or, at the other.

“You see that the car manufacturers, they’re doing one step after another,” Mertz adds. “Whereas other companies are trying to do autonomy all at once.”