No one wants to get into a car accident, but it helps to be prepared. Knowing what to do after an accident can help keep a bad situation from getting worse. Volvo is trying to make things easier with a new app-based service called Accident Advisor that allows drivers to get the information they need, as well as access to vital services, all from their smartphones.
Accident Advisor is an extension of Volvo’s existing emergency telematics service. Cars can already connect with a call center automatically when an accident is detected. To use Accident Advisor, the driver must first confirm that everyone in the vehicle is uninjured and that there is no need for emergency services. The operator then sends a link to the driver’s smartphone, which launches the app.
Once launched, the app instructs drivers on what information and types of photos from the accident scene to collect and submit to their insurance companies. Volvo also offers the option to digitally notify insurance companies of an accident, or search for nearby repair shops. Similar features are available directly from certain insurance companies through their own apps. Volvo previously said it was “inviting” insurance companies to offer discounts to owners of cars with its most advanced safety features.
Volvo is making Accident Advisor available automatically on all 2015.5 model year and newer vehicles, free of charge. Older models don’t have the built-in telematics unit, and thus can’t connect directly with a Volvo operator to launch the app. But owners of older cars can still use Accident Advisor by calling Volvo Customer Care at (800)-550-5658. That method is free of charge as well.
Volvo has a long-standing reputation for being obsessed with safety, but lately the Swedish automaker has brought more tech to bear reducing car crashes. In 2020, Volvo will electronically limit the top speed of every car it makes to 112 mph, and will launch a “Care Key” in 2021 that allows vehicle owners to limit how fast others can drive in their cars. Volvo also plans to make driver-facing cameras standard equipment in the mid-2020s, to combat intoxicated or distracted driving. The goal of these initiatives is to ensure no one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo after 2020. Despite the prospect of fewer accidents, Volvo may have to fight criticism that the new features restrict drivers’ freedom.