Volvo’s 2020 vision

The new XC60’s safety systems provide a glimpse into the future of autonomous driving


The new Volvo XC60 at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show Photo by Alvin Uy

We are getting closer and closer to autonomous driving. Vehicle safety pioneer Volvo has been introducing better ways in making sure its vehicles feature the latest driving aids to ensure the driver and its occupants travel safely and is prepared to handle imminent danger, avoiding accidents and saving lives.

The new XC60 SUV recently unveiled by Volvo Philippines is an example of Volvo’s vision for zero casualties by the year 2020, packed with several active safety features that is designed to help the driver stay in control using Volvo’s latest technology, keeping its occupants safely on the road even in adverse conditions.

Decline in crashes

“We have been working with collision avoidance systems for many years and we can see how effective they are. In Sweden alone, we have seen a decline of around 45 percent in rear-end frontal crashes, thanks to our collision warning with autobrake system,” said Malin Ekholm, senior director at Volvo Cars’ Safety Center.

Blind spot information (BLIS) with steer assist

“With the XC60 we are determined to take the next step in reducing avoidable collisions with the addition of steering support and assistance systems,” he added.

In the previous system, vehicles could only provide automatic braking when there is an obstacle along the path.

Now, the XC60’s city safety system actually aids the driver in steering clear of impending dangers and obstacles.

In many instances, mere automatic braking is not enough to prevent a collision. With the new system, it not only engages in automatic braking but gives steering support, away from obstacles like vehicles, large animals and even pedestrians.

This driver steering aid support feature is active between 50-100 kph.

Another active safety feature is Volvo’s Oncoming Lane Mitigation. This system is designed to avoid collisions with oncoming vehicles.

The system constantly monitors the direction and path of the vehicle and would automatically detect if a driver has wandered out of a driving lane.

New generation of city safety steering support

It will then alert the driver and give automatic steering assistance, moving the vehicle back to the proper lane and avoiding potential collision.

The system’s effective range is between speeds of 60 to 140 kph.

“We have all of the benefits of the safety technology we introduced in our larger 90 Series cars in the new XC60. This is fully in-line with our strategic approach to develop automotive safety systems based on real-life, real-road safety. Our vision is that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020,” said Ekholm.

Towards autonomous cars

“All three of these new features represent clear steps in our work towards fully autonomous cars,” he added.

The XC60 also is one of its models to feature the Blind Spot Information System. This system alerts drivers so they can avoid vehicles in their blind spot and also provide steering assist to help avoid potential collision.

Among other safety features in the XC60 include large animal detection, run-off road mitigation, and the semi-autonomous driver support and convenience system pilot assist as an option.

These features were first incorporated in its larger S90 and V90 siblings.

Significant move

Aside from focusing on safety features, Volvo also announced that all its cars will have an electric motor by 2019.

Run off road mitigation

In what it describes as “one of the most significant moves by any car maker,” Volvo will soon have a full range of electrified models, including fully electric and hybrid cars.

In the recently concluded Tokyo Motor Show, car makers have showcased concept vehicles that promises near-full driving autonomy and alternative fuel strategies in their future line ups.

The future of autonomous mobility, it seems, is not far around the corner.

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