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The ongoing safety challenge for Volvo Cars: To prevent and protect the fallible human being



Modern cars are filled with more and more sophisticated technology at the same time as the traffic environment is becoming more and more complex.
  To handle all this is a tough challenge for the human being.
  After all, we haven’t changed much since we lived in caves and hunted with spears…

Since car driving wasn’t on the agenda during the human evolution, it is a challenge for Volvo Cars to adapt our cars to the human’s abilities and limitations. The main issue is to develop cars that make the co-operation between man and machine as smooth and safe as possible.


“We should not accept that people die in traffic accidents. If we do, we have given up”, says Ingrid Skogsmo, head of Volvo Cars’ Safety Centre.


Co-operation with other players
In Sweden, “Vision Zero”, initiated by the National Road Administration, is dedicated to bring down the number of deaths on the roads to an absolute minimum. The vision was adopted as a national policy by the Swedish parliament in 1997.


“As a car manufacturer, we have a responsibility to contribute to the enablers for the Vision Zero – and we need to further improve the co-operation with the organisations who organise and develop the traffic environment. In order to create a safe traffic environment, the whole chain from road users and the vehicle makers to the strategic planners need to contribute”, says Ingrid Skogsmo.

  • Projects building knowledgeVolvo Cars is an active part in several national and international projects with the aim to build up valuable knowledge about human behaviour in connection with traffic accidents. These projects include:
  • FICA (Factors Influenceing the Causation of accidents and Incidences), which studies human behaviour in selected accidents. The project aims to pinpoint which safety systems that are crucial for helping the driver avoid accidents.
  • Traffic Injury Support, which is a helpdesk for people who have been involved in a traffic accident. On top of giving support to accident victims, the dialogue provides valuable information about how the people involved view the circumstances and causes of the accidents.


New preventative systems
The new Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) are two excellent examples of the work within the field of preventive safety.


IDIS promotes driver concentration by delaying incoming phone calls and other information in intense driving situations. BLIS features cameras in the side mirrors, which cover the “blind spot - and when necessary the driver gets a red warning signal inside of the mirror.


Protection if the crash is unavoidable
If an accident is unavoidable, the protective systems are activated. These include safety belts deformation zones, airbags, Inflatable Curtains, Whiplash Protection System, etc.
“We as humans have not changed much during a couple of thousand years. We have to realize that we will not be able to educate a human being into the perfect driver. So Volvo cars are designed to help prevent the driver from having an accident – and to protect everyone in the car as well as possible if a crash is unavoidable”, explains Ingrid Skogsmo.



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