Volvo Cars has set the auto industry bar high with a lofty goal. Already known for its impressive safety ratings, the automaker pledges that by 2020 no one will be killed in a new Volvo car.
This may seem like an impossible task, particularly as the industry moves towards meeting new low-emissions goals at the same time. Yet with the use of technology, Volvo hopes to prevent collisions. The first steps in the right direction have been implemented with the latest high-tech safety gear, as seen in the new XC90 SUV.
Road Edge and Barrier Detection
One of the first new safety features is road edge and barrier detection with steer assist. If the car is about to drive off the road, the car is able to autonomously steer in the opposite direction and apply torque if necessary. Volvo’s research indicates that 25% of accidents are triggered when a car leaves the road, so this new feature alone should have them closer to their goal. This world-first technology will work on roads without any side markings, making the XC90 the best SUV for staying on the road.
Pedestrian and Animal Detection
The new XC90 will also be able to detect animals and pedestrians more actively, using high-tech gear. In a collision with a large animal like a moose or deer, the car will be able to react within 500 milliseconds and slow the car down to minimise damage. It will be able to detect animals in day and night driving conditions, with images learned from safari parks. Another world-first technology unveiled in this car will be the ability to detect pedestrians in the dark and combine this technology with automatic braking. It uses a camera to recognize pedestrians or cyclists, automatically braking to avoid collision.
Car to Car Communication
Using Wi-Fi technology, Volvo cars will be able to communicate with other vehicles on the road. This can include issuing alerts if cars ahead of the driver start to brake, as well as warn drivers of any obstacles down the road. This can also be used to improve efficiency, because the car will be able to approach traffic lights at the optimum speed to avoid stopping.
Inching Closer to a Self-Driving Car
The car news industry has been filled with stories recently about new advances in driverless technology, and these new features from Volvo help push their fleet closer to an autonomous reality. The XC90 will have adaptive cruise control with steer assist, helping the car stay in the lane and follow traffic with very little input from the driver. However, one of the most interesting features that upcoming Volvos will have is the ability to self-park. In car parks equipped with sensors that provide the car information about free spaces, the car will be able to search out a parking spot using a smartphone app. The driver can then retrieve it at the touch of a button. Combined with features like car communication and auto braking, the car will interact safely with both pedestrians and other cars in the car park.
While there are still a number of obstacles between Volvo and fully autonomous cars, in the meantime the safety features of the new XC90 SUV bring the automaker a big leap forward into providing a safer and more rewarding experience. Volvo claims that by removing driver error from the calculation, they will be able to reach their goal of a zero mortality rate by 2020.
Image Source: The 2013 Volvo XC90 SUV