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Post-crash

 

 

Volvo’s safety philosophy is as old as the company itself. More than 70 years ago, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, the founders of Volvo, stated that

 

"Cars are driven by people. Therefore, the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is, and must remain, safety".

 

Since then, Volvo has introduced several world firsts in the field of crash safety. One important step is quite naturally the three-point safety belt, introduced in 1959.

 

Volvo’s vision for the future is crystal clear. The company intends to maintain its leading position in the field of safety. Volvo is constantly moving forward. One example is the recent opening of the new safety centre in Gothenburg – the most advanced in the automotive industry.

 

However, it is important to emphasise that an holistic approach to car safety must go further than protecting the occupants in a collision.

 

It is equally important to develop technology which can help the driver to avoid an accident. The Volvo SCC includes several examples of this.

 

If an accident is unavoidable, the car must protect the occupants – and actively assist the rescue operation so the occupants can receive the best possible treatment as quickly as possible.

 

This post-crash equipment is being developed in close collaboration with the emergency services and trauma doctors with vast experience of the treatment of traffic accident victims.

 

Automatic information after an accident

 

Volvo on Call is in the process of being introduced in certain markets. When the airbag is deployed, the car automatically sends an accident alarm including:

 

Position

 

Vehicle information (car model, engine type and so on)

 

Integrated car phone connection with the Volvo on Call switchboard

 

The telematics system in the Volvo SCC is a further development of Volvo On Call (which goes under the name of Volvo On Call Plus in the USA). Joint studies by the Ford Research Laboratory and Volvo Cars have shown that it is possible to increase the amount of important information that is sent from the car to the alarm centre in the event of an accident.

 

The enhanced On Call system also automatically notes how many people were in the car at the time of an accident, where they were sitting, how many of them were using the safety belt and the type of accident in which the car was involved. The system will even be able to provide a certain amount of information on the actual collision force and the direction of the force to which the occupants were subjected.

 

The next generation of Volvo on Call

 

Together with the Ford Motor Company’s experts in the field, Volvo Cars plans to refine the concept still further. The next generation of Volvo on Call, which will be launched around 2005, will include:

 

Position

 

Vehicle information (car model, engine type and so on)

 

Type of crash

 

Final vehicle orientation at the site of the accident (could be used to track a roll-over)

 

Collision severity measured in delta-V

 

Number of occupants

 

Number of belted occupants

 

Integrated car phone connection with the Volvo on Call switchboard

 

"Every piece of information must be valuable"

 

"I want to stress that this concept is still flexible. We are creating an efficient post-crash system by listening carefully to the rescue services and the doctors. This is not a gadget race. Our responsibility is to make sure that the occupants in our cars receive rapid, adequate help. So every piece of information that is sent from the car must be valuable, either for the rescue centre or for the doctors in the emergency room," says Henrik Wiberg, the person responsible for post-crash development at Volvo Cars. "Together with Srini Sundararajan from the Ford Research Laboratory, we are building the best possible system."

 

Speaking partners for the post-crash system include the rescue centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, Dr Poul Kongstad, a neurosurgeon at the University Hospital in Lund, Sweden, and Professor Stewart Wang, at the Trauma Burn Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

 

The wish list from the rescue centre and the doctors includes a number of points.

 

Immediate notification

 

The car must provide an automatic alarm. This is especially important if a single car is involved in an accident. An automatic alarm eliminates the risk of nobody being around to call the rescue centre if the occupants of the car are unable to call for help themselves.

 

Location

 

In the mobile phone era, most accidents are followed by a large number of calls to the rescue centre. The information could be contradictory or confusing. Automatic information about the exact location means that the rescue vehicles know exactly where to go.

 

Occupant number

 

Information about the number of people involved is crucial for determining the size of the rescue operation.

 

Occupant characteristics

 

Since age and medical history influence the way the human body is affected by an accident, this information is valuable for the doctor’s preparations in the emergency room. This information could include medical information about the patient (diabetes, pacemaker, blood characteristics and so on).

 

Occupant condition

 

Information about the level of consciousness and distress is also important for preparations at the hospital. Is the patient conscious? How high or low are his/her pulse and blood pressure? If these questions can be answered in advance, the treatment is more effective once the patient reaches the hospital.

 

Crash conditions

 

The vehicle type, the type of accident (frontal, offset, side, rear) and the severity of the crash will give the doctors a picture of what has happened to the occupants. It is also important to know if the car has rolled over, if someone has been thrown out of the car or if there has been an intrusion into the passenger compartment.

 

Instant communication

 

If someone in the car is able to speak, the information he or she can provide over the phone could be extremely valuable both for the rescue centre and for the doctors. An open phone line also makes it possible to provide people in or around the vehicle with instructions about first aid, fire fighting and
so on.

 

The car manufacturers can help society

 

"This is not just about saving lives in the car transmitting the alarm. The equipment is also important for society. As ambulances, fire engines and doctors are limited resources, it is extremely important for society that they are utilised in the best possible way. If the car can provide us with the right information after an accident, we can avoid oversized rescue operations. There is always a risk that one ambulance too many at the scene of an accident could have saved a life somewhere else," says Dr Poul Kongstad.

 

Professor Stewart Wang adds, "Every day in the emergency room, I receive people who could have been saved if they had only arrived a little bit sooner. The post-crash system helps us obtain the valuable information and minutes that could make the difference – between life and death or between total recovery and permanent disability. This issue is of enormous value to us and the co-operation between us and responsible car manufacturers like the Ford Motor Company and Volvo is a step in the right direction".

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I fatti e le descrizioni contenuti in questo materiale per la stampa si riferiscono alla gamma internazionale di autovetture prodotte da Volvo Cars. Le caratteristiche descritte possono essere optional. I prodotti Volvo in vendita sul mercato italiano possono variare in termini di specifiche e allestimenti rispetto a quanto illustrato sul sito.