Volvo makes a pledge of “deathproof” cars by 2020
Car manufacturers have been working to make their cars safer with auto accidents being one of the leading causes of death in the world. However, Volvo recently has made a shocking pledge that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car or SUV by 2020. In other words, they plan to make their cars “death proof” by 2020.
“If you meet Swedish engineers, they’re pretty genuine,” said Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Cars North America. “They don’t say things when they don’t believe in it.”
According to ExtremeTech, Volvo would be depending on several new technological advances that would ensure zero injuries or deaths on its vehicles by 2020. The Swedish company maintains that the solution to a crash-free world lies in self-driving cars, but a host of high-tech safety features are making drivers safer – and better – in the meantime.
Fatality-free vehicles are not exceptional. In fact, there already are some, and they’re not just Volvos. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are nine vehicle models — including the Volvo XC90, in which no one in the United States has died in at least four years and plans to integrate new and improve current crash-prevention technology into its cars.
The automaker is known to track the number of serious injuries and deaths that have taken place in cars manufactured by them and then use the data to make their cars even more safe. The engineers in this way can tell how much safer their vehicles become each time they roll out a new crash-prevention technology. That also helps Volvo predict how much safer its vehicles will be with each new advancement.
Most of the technology that’s required for autonomous driving is already available from Volvo and other carmakers. To achieve the crushproof, death-proof car, Volvo aims to create an autonomous vehicle that includes technology such as lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, and large animal detection.
For example, adaptive cruise control is already available on many cars. It allows you to set a maximum speed, but uses radar to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. It can even apply the brakes if need be. This can be taken a step further with full collision avoidance. When a crash is likely, the driver will be warned. If action isn’t taken, the car can begin braking to avoid, or at least minimize the impact.
Volvo also plans to make extensive use of a relatively new technology that is lane assistance. Cars will use cameras to detect lanes and alert the driver if they begin to drift. This has been found to dramatically reduce crashes from dozing off at the wheel and distracted driving. Road signs can be identified by cameras as well to help alert drivers to posted speed limits and upcoming hazards.
Cameras will also be used to watch for pedestrians in the vicinity of the vehicle. This is similar to the technology that is used in self-driving cars to recognize likely obstacles on the road. The driver can be alerted if a person is in the car’s path and the brake can be automatically applied. In addition to people, cameras can be used to spot large animals in the roadway. For example, moose are common in Volvo’s home territory, and they’ll really mess your car up. Volvo has created a system that can act to avoid colliding with such a critter, saving both you and it.
“With the development of full autonomy we are going to push the limits of automotive safety,” said Volvo safety engineer Erik Coelingh, “because if you make a fully autonomous vehicle you have to think through everything that potentially can happen with a car.”
That doesn’t mean that drivers will automatically have to use the car’s autonomous driving mode in order to be safe, though. Even when the driver is in full control of the car, these systems will still run in the background during normal driving, ready to take over the instant there’s danger.