Volvo has outlined three new safety technologies it is developing in its drive to eliminate deaths or serious injuries in Volvo cars by 2020. The areas of safety technology in development include autonomous driving support, intersection support and animal detection.
Autonomous driving support aims to ease driving in traffic conditions thanks to camera and radar systems. These can detect if the car in front is braking heavily or changing direction quickly. If a danger is recognised, the car’s engine, brakes and steering react automatically. The system also helps to keep the car in the correct lane.
Volvo’s intersection support technology uses in-built sensors to read traffic conditions, and can apply the car's brakes automatically if an impending collision is detected. According to an ‘Active Safety Functions’ representative, the system “not only helps to deal with the driver’s mistake, but those of other road users, too. We’re trying to do the same thing that people would do in the same situation if they had time to react”.
Animal detection is a further development of Volvo’s pedestrian protection system, which applies the car's brakes if an impending accident with wild animals is detected.
In Sweden, accidents with animals typically occur at cruising speeds of 100kph. With that speed reduced through automatic braking to 80kph, “the car’s safety systems are effective and the risk of serious injuries is small”. The braking system can detect animals from a distance of up to 30 metres away.
In May, Volvo completed a 120-mile convoy of self-driven cars that were linked wirelessly to a lead car. According to Volvo, the new system will allow drivers to “work on their laptops, read a book or sit back and enjoy a relaxed lunch".
Issue: 166 | June 2013
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