Volvo Cars builds many of the safest cars on the market. Ever since Volvo Cars was founded, safety has been a cornerstone of the company philosophy. The aim is to offer cars that are safe for all people in all imaginable traffic situations. The key to success in this respect is to design safety systems that are smart and that interact with one another. Volvo Cars bases its research on a variety of parameters, including data obtained from actual road accidents, with the future aim of ensuring there are no fatalities or serious injuries in or owing to a Volvo car.
XC60 -Volvo's safest car ever
2008 saw the launch of the new XC60 on the market. This model has a safety level of absolute world class and its standard specification includes City Safety, a function that helps the driver brake if he or she is about to drive into the car in front. City Safety has been developed to reduce the risk and consequences of a rear-end collision, something that is very common in urban traffic and when driving in slow-moving tailbacks. The system is active at speeds below 30 km/h and is estimated to be able to reduce the occurrence of this type of accident by 50%.
2008 was also the year when Volvo Cars clearly expressed its safety vision for the future - to design cars that should not crash. In the shorter perspective the aim is that by 2020 no-one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo car.
The road there is challenging and part of the solution will be technology that involves cars and infrastructure communicating with one another.
WHIPS turns 10
Whiplash injuries are among the most common traffic injuries. It was back in 1998 that Volvo Cars introduced WHIPS, an effective system that protects the neck in a rear-end collision. The system, which halves the risk of long-term injuries, has now been around for ten years. WHIPS is fitted as standard in the front seats of all Volvo car models.
Technology for sober driving
Along with failure to use safety belts and excessive speed, drink-driving is one of the biggest traffic-safety problems. Since the start of 2008, Volvo has offered an alcolock with the aim of preventing drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol. The alcolock is based on advanced fuel-cell technology and is very reliable.
One effective way of reducing the number of injuries and fatalities in traffic is to help the driver avoid an accident in the first place. Surveys reveal that up to 90% of all accidents are caused by the driver being distracted and failing to concentrate fully on the road. This is therefore an area of top priority at Volvo Cars. For example, Volvo offers Driver Alert Control, which monitors attentiveness and alerts the driver if he or she shows signs of distraction or erratic driving. Collision warning and auto-braking are also offered on several models.
If an accident occurs
If an accident is unavoidable, Volvo's cars have been developed to help protect their occupants. Many different safety systems interact to provide effective protection: airbags, advanced grades of steel with energy-absorbing abilities, and safety belts with both belt pre-tensioners and force limiters.
Unprotected road-users in focus
Every year, thousands of pedestrians are injured and killed on roads and Volvo is working to reduce this figure. At the end of 2008, a unique new technology was unveiled that allows the car to detect pedestrians in the collision risk zone, alerting the driver in advance. If the driver does not respond to the warning, the car brakes itself and at low speeds the accident can even be entirely avoided. And if a pedestrian is hit, the front of the Volvo is designed to absorb the impact energy and reduce the severity of personal injuries.
Safe for the smallest passengers
Volvo Cars offers a wide range of child-safety equipment for children of all ages. A young child's head is large and heavy in relation to the rest of its body and the child's weak neck cannot adequately support the head in a collision. That is why Volvo Cars strongly recommends that children should ride facing the rear for as long as possible, at least until the age of 3 or 4. For older children, from 4 to about 10 (140 cm) there are booster cushions. These help position the belt correctly across the shoulder and thighs and prevent the belt from sliding up across the more vulnerable abdomen.
In order to boost the use of child-safety equipment, there are also integrated booster cushions in Volvo's cars. They can be adjusted to two heights, making them useful over a long period of time as the child grows.
Pregnant women should always use the safety belt, even during the final stages of pregnancy. The airbag should also remain activated.
Safe and sound with personal security
At the mere touch of a button in the Volvo Personal Car Communicator (PCC) you can determine whether the car is locked or not, wherever in the world you happen to be. It is also possible to see if anyone is inside the car and whether the alarm has been activated.
The heart of Volvo Cars' Safety Centre is the crash-test laboratory. It opened in 2000 and is one of the most advanced in the world. Here it is possible to recreate real-life accident scenarios and the researchers test the various car models in various collision situations.
MILESTONES IN SAFETY
1944 Safety cage
1944 Laminated windscreen
1959 Three-point safety belts in the front as standard
1960 Padded instrument panel
1964 Prototype of the first rear-facing child seat is tested in a Volvo
1966 Twin-circuit triangular (three-wheel) backup braking system
1966 Crumple zones
1967 Seat belts in the rear
1968 Head restraints front
1969 Three-point inertia-reel safety belts in the front
1972 Three-point safety belts in the rear
1972 Rear-facing child seat and child-proof door locks
1972 Volvo Experimental Safety Car (VESC)
1973 Energy-absorbing steering column
1974 Energy-absorbing bumpers
1974 Petrol tank relocated for enhanced safety
1978 Child booster cushion for children
1982 Under-run protection
1982 Door mirrors of wide-angle type
1984 ABS, anti-locking brakes
1986 Brake lights at eye level
1986 Three-point safety belt in the middle of the rear seat
1987 Safety belt pre-tensioner
1987 Driver's airbag
1990 Integrated booster cushion for children
1991 SIPS, side impact collision protection
1991 Automatic height adjustment of front safety belts
1993 Three-point inertia-reel safety belt in all seats
1994 SIPS, side-impact airbags
1997 ROPS, Roll-Over Protection System convertible (C70)
1998 WHIPS, protection against whiplash injuries
1998 IC, inflatable curtain,
1998 DSTC, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control
2000 Volvo Cars Safety Centre inaugurated in Göteborg on 29 March
2000 ISOFIX attachments for child seats
2000 Two-stage airbag
2000 Volvo On Call safety system
2001 Volvo Safety Concept Car (SCC)
2002 RSC, Roll Stability Control
2002 ROPS, Roll-Over Protection System SUV (XC90)
2002 Lower cross-member at the front - protection system for oncoming cars
2002 Development of virtual "pregnant" crash-test dummy
2003 PACOS - Passenger Airbag Cut-Off Switch
2003 IDIS, intelligent system for driver information
2003 Patented new structure at the front reduces collision forces
2003 Bangkok's Traffic Accident Research Centre (TARC) is inaugurated
2004 BLIS, system for information about the offset rear blind spot
2004 DMIC, door-mounted side airbag for convertibles
2005 Presentation of Volvo's co-driver system
2005 Multi Lock, combined alcolock and lock for the safety belt and key for speed restriction (research project)
2006 ACC, Adaptive Cruise Control
2006 Personal Car Communicator (PCC)
2006 Collision warning with brake support
2006 Active Bending Lights (ABL)
2007 Integrated two-stage child booster cushion
2007 CWAB, Collision Warning with Auto Brake
2007 Driver Alert Control
2007 Lane Departure Warning
2008 Pre-Prepared Restraints
2008 City Safety, low speed collision avoidance
2009 Adaptive Cruise control with queue assist
2009 Collision Warning with full auto-brake and pedestrian detection
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