Volvo's S80 car communicator keeps you safe, makes CSI's writers work harder

Yes, we know that you're a black belt in karate, ex-Green Beret, with no concern about personal safety. You park your Hummer in the toughest neighborhoods without a second thought about someone entering your car with malicious intent. But what about your kid sister? If she needs to park in dicey neighborhoods, Volvo's new S80 communicator can help put her mind at ease.

Volvo looked at the standard remote-control keyfob and wondered if it could be turned into a two-way communicator. And long story short, the company did just that. Volvo's Personal Car Communicator hosts a radio transmitter/receiver that communicates with the S80 and has a range of about 300 feet from the vehicle.

This means that as you approach the S80, you can tell whether the car is locked, whether the car alarm is activated and even if a person is in the car (a highly responsive heartbeat sensor in the car determines that last one). And if you think something might be amiss or just need to light the darkness, the control can also turn on the car's exterior and interior lights. So in one grand gesture, Volvo has made parking a much safer experience and eliminated one of the standard devices in crime shows — where the bad guy hides out of sight in the backseat and then pulls a gun on Jack Bauer and orders him to drive to the edge of town.