In recent years, Volvo Car Corporation has concentrated their safety development on systems that help the driver read surrounding traffic. The idea is to predict threatening collisions early enough to completely prevent them from happening. When this is not possible, the damages can still be limited to a minimum by reducing the speed and stopping distance. The most groundbreaking active safety system in development right now is a new generation of Collision Warning that can bring the car to a complete stop. Here is the video.
Automatic warning and brake support
Volvo Car Corporation has focused its system development on detecting potential safety risks at an earlier stage. This means to help preventing accidents from occurring, or reducing their effects, simply by reducing speed and shortening the stopping distance. First out was the Collision Warning with Brake Support, recently launched in the new Volvo S80. It allows a 15° field of view, is equipped with a long range radar and registers moving and stopping vehicles.
- A radar sensor is designed to monitor the area in front of the car. If the driver does not react when the car approaches another vehicle from behind, a red light is reflected on the windscreen and a buzzer sounds, says Ingrid Skogsmo, Safety Director at Volvo Car Corporation.
To increase the margins even more, the brake pads are automatically placed against the discs. When the driver brakes, the system monitors the pedal pressure. If the pressure is assessed as being too light, the braking power is amplified by the system.
Full automatic brake power
Volvo Car Corporation is now working on a whole new generation of the Collision Warning System. It will be equipped with full automatic brake power and a considerably wider field of view. The new generation of Collision Warning is designed to be activated at a very early stage and if the driver does not hit the brakes when needed, the system brakes automatically to slow the vehicle down.
- To our knowledge, Volvo Car Corporation is the only car manufacturer to have a system this advanced on the drawing table, says Ingrid Skogsmo. We have come very far in developing the system, and preview it now to show what we have in pipeline.
Another benefit with the new generation of the system is that it offers increased safety not only for the driver, but also for common good. By avoiding rear-end collisions, the people in the car that would have been hit will not have to suffer material damage or personal injuries such as whip-lash. Integrating the system into forthcoming Volvo models would mean a winning situation for all road-users.
Other active safety systems in use and on the way
In recent years, Volvo Car Corporation has presented a number of active safety systems to help the driver monitor and read surrounding traffic. Several of these have been integrated into existing car models and are available on most markets.
INTELLIGENT DRIVER INFORMATION SYSTEM, IDIS, was introduced as a world-first in 2003. Any activity that the system interprets as overtaking or braking will delay information that is not crucial to safety - such as incoming phone calls and text messages - until the situation is less stressful. The idea is to help the driver concentrate on the right things, for a more relaxed and controlled driving.
BLIND SPOT INFORMATION SYSTEM, BLIS, is designed to detect vehicles in the blind spot using cameras that are fitted by the side-mirrors. An indicator lamp is lit in the door panel to help the driver identify a vehicle in the blind spot.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL, ACC, is a convenience system that co-operates with the Collision Warning System. It uses a radar sensor to continuously monitor the vehicle in front, and is designed to automatically adjust the speed to maintain a comfortable distance.
More systems under development
Volvo Car Corporation is working on many active safety systems in different stages of development. Some of these are practically finished, although not in production yet. Below is a selection of active safety systems that the company gives priority to right now, and that will be incorporated in the near future.
DRIVER ALERT sounds a warning signal if the driving pattern changes erratically within the lane. The system thus alerts the driver of becoming drowsy, long before the eyelids start to drop. This means better margins and greater chances at avoiding accidents caused by fatigue. Not in production yet.
VOLVO CoDriver co-ordinates information from all systems and functions, as well as evaluates and interprets surrounding traffic. The system helps alert the driver when he or she becomes tired or stressed, then activates help functions. This gives the driver more time to take the right actions, which increases safety considerably. Not in production yet.
LANE DEPARTURE WARNING continuously monitors the road with a camera in the rear view mirror. If the wheels move outside the lane markings, a buzzer helps to inform the driver to take action. Not in production yet.
LANE KEEPING AID sounds a signal if the car drifts out of its lane. If the driver fails to steer the vehicle back on its course, the system momentarily takes over to guide the car back into the lane. Not in production yet.
EMERGENCY LANE ASSIST monitors oncoming vehicles as well, using both camera and radar. Should the driver not react on the buzzer, the system adds steering force to help turn the car back into the original lane. Not in production yet.