Volvo Car Corporation is a leading car manufacturer when it comes to both preventive and protective safety. The company has a long history of developing advanced safety technologies, and now focuses on a new generation of groundbreaking protective safety systems. These are intended to enhance safety for people both inside and outside the vehicle, as well as allowing more relaxed and enjoyable driving.
Volvo Car Corporation has a long tradition of pro-active safety thinking. About 80 years ago, founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson proclaimed that 'Cars are driven by people.
The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo therefore is, and must remain, safety.
Back then, the main focus would have been what Volvo Car Corporation today calls protective safety, meaning systems and functions that help protect people in the event of an accident.
Over time, the company has broadened its outlook to include the development of highly sophisticated, preventive safety systems.
"Today we focus on technologies that predict and prevent accidents from even occurring. It is important to understand that collisions are not inevitable. Preventive Safety is all about helping and supporting the driver to avoid accidents." says Jonas Ekmark, Manager for Preventive Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
The car, the traffic and the driver
Volvo Car Corporation develops safety systems from three main perspectives: the car, the traffic situation and the human being. Volvo vehicles are renowned for safety when it comes to construction and materials but, no matter how safe the car is or how well the traffic situation can be controlled, safety always depends on the human being. The driver must stay alert, be able to make quick decisions in stressful situations and not give in to fatigue. This is often easier said than done.
"Research has shown that in 50 per cent of all rear-end collisions, the driver doesn't brake at all", says Jonas Ekmark. "This is probably because the driver never saw what was going to happen, and therefore had no chance of preventing the accident. Our active safety systems are developed to help increase the margins so that the driver has time to manoeuvre the car out of the threatening situation."
Assisting the human eye
Busy streets, multiple choices and new communication tools all compete for the driver's attention. To help the driver decide which information is more important, Volvo vehicles can be equipped with advanced technology that reads traffic quicker than the human eye. The active safety systems warn about threats and can even step in and act in critical situations if there is not enough time for the driver to avoid them.
"That does not mean that the system takes over the driving. It merely assists the driver in enhancing safety and making the driving experience more enjoyable," says Jonas Ekmark.
To promote safer and less stressful traffic, Volvo Car Corporation also encourages co-operation between car manufacturers and others with a common interest in traffic safety. This could mean collective preventive work where for example authorities, road construction companies and the telecom industry collaborate on developing a safer infrastructure.
Innovative safety systems already in use
Several active safety systems developed by Volvo Car Corporation are already in use and, recently, three new systems have been introduced:
These systems will be available in the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70 at the end of 2007.
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