Volvo is taking a big step in improving road safety with the introduction of its City Safety collision avoidance system as standard on the new Volvo XC60.
Surveys indicate that 75 per cent of reported collisions occur below 30km/h and that, in 50 per cent of these cases, the driver has not braked before the collision. City Safety is able to make a crucial difference.
City Safety operates at speeds up to 30 km/h and is able to detect if the car is at risk of colliding with the vehicle ahead. If the driver has not taken corrective action in time, City Safety will apply the brakes to either minimise the impact, or avoid it altogether.
“City Safety is yet another example of Volvo’s ambition to tackle real-life traffic situations when developing solutions aimed at preventing accidents,” said Jonas Ekmark, manager of Preventive Safety at the Volvo Car Corporation’s Car Safety centre.
The active components of City Safety include a laser sensor integrated into the top of the windscreen, which is able to detect other vehicles at a distance of up to 8 metres ahead of the car’s front bumper.
Making 50 calculations a second, the system determines if an impact is likely, and calculates the amount of braking force needed to avoid a collision if the driver fails react in time. The system is able to brake the car accordingly without intervention from the driver.
If the relative closing speed is less than 15km/h it is possible that City Safety will allow the driver to completely avoid a collision. Above that, with a collision likely, the speed and severity of the impact are considerably reduced.
However, City Safety does not absolve the driver of all responsibility.
“It is important to underline that City Safety does not relieve the driver of the responsibility of maintaining a safe distance to avoid a collision. The automatic braking function does not react until it considers a collision is imminent,” said Jonas Ekmark.
While the complete avoidance of an accident is the objective, City Safety reduces the chances of injury, if an impact occurs, to the occupants of the other vehicle, as well as those in the Volvo to which it is fitted.
Reduced impact severity means that injuries such as whiplash can be minimised, or avoided altogether.
The other benefit is repair costs. Even though minor impacts can often result in expensive repairs, it remains a fact that repair costs are usually linked to the impact speed. And, even better, there are no repair costs if the impact is avoided altogether. It is for this reason that insurance premiums can be reduced.
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