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All-New Volvo XC90 Wins NEMPA Yankee Cup Technology Award

CAMBRIDGE, MA – May 21, 2015 – The all-new Volvo XC90 has won the Yankee Cup Technology Award by the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA).


Selected with input from the engineering faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Yankee Cup goes to an automotive feature or system that significantly enhances the motoring experience, whether by making driving safer, more cost-efficient or simply more enjoyable.


The award was presented at NEMPA’s annual meeting and awards dinner, held today on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


"The Volvo XC90 has been a favorite in New England for many years, for its capability in rough weather, and its tremendous safety features," said NEMPA President Craig Fitzgerald. "NEMPA members and the faculty at MIT chose the all-new Volvo XC90 for its comprehensive package of safety technology. We were impressed by the suite of tools that not only protect occupants, but pedestrians as well, and makes great strides in mitigating the distractions that drivers face in modern automobiles." 


“Volvo Cars is proud to accept the Yankee Cup award just as all-new XC90s are arriving in showrooms around he world,” said Bodil Eriksson, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Brand and Communications, Volvo Cars of North America. “The technology found in the XC90 was developed to help Volvo Cars achieve its Vision 2020 goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.”


The designers and engineers behind Volvo’s all-new XC90 have completely reconceived the way drivers operate their cars and dispensed with the normal array of buttons. A large tablet-like touch screen, a head-up display, state-of-art-voice control and thumb controls on the steering wheel, all combine to form a more convenient way of interacting with the vehicle.


The result is the most modern in-car control system on the market, which is easier to use, ensuring drivers will be able to keep their eyes on the road as much as possible while operating or making adjustments to the system. It also offers a range of additional benefits such as integrated cloud-based applications for music streaming and other services, such as the world’s first integrated Park and Pay application, and the ability to mirror and use Apple iOS devices in the touch screen display.


“As cars increasingly become more connected to the Internet and are able to offer a far wider range of functions and entertainment services, the way in which the driver interacts with the car’s systems is becoming progressively more important. It is essential that these services are offered in a way that does not reduce safety levels and in a manner that is easy to understand and optimized for the driving task,” said Dr. Thomas M. Müller, Vice President Electrics/Electronics & E-propulsion engineering of Volvo Car Group.


The typical driver control system available in many other premium cars on the market can involve 30 or more buttons spread across a dashboard, making it challenging for drivers to locate and operate, and threatening to distract their attention.


Sensus – instinctive understanding

Volvo’s new interface, part of ‘Sensus’, Volvo's connectivity and user interface sub-brand, incorporates the latest touch screen hardware and software to allow drivers to build an instinctive understanding of how the system works, where the controls are located and how to operate them.


“Smooth interaction without distraction has been the guiding expression for our designers and engineers. The in-car control system is designed to keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel as much as possible,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo Car Group’s Senior Vice President Design.


The new in-car control system is just one of many examples of how the all-new XC90 has been designed around the needs of the people who are going to drive it.


City Safety – outstanding crash protection

Starting with the all-new Volvo XC90, City Safety becomes the umbrella name for all of Volvo Cars’ auto brake functions. The continuously enhanced collision-avoidance and mitigation technologies, which are standard in the XC90, include yet another Volvo world first: automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming vehicle.


“City Safety is one of the most advanced standard crash prevention offers you can find in a modern car. It addresses vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in certain situations, day and night,” explains Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.


As the leader in automotive safety, Volvo Cars has been pioneering auto brake technologies since the first-generation standard brake support was introduced in 2006. Among the groundbreaking technologies is the first-generation City Safety, which was introduced as a low-speed auto brake solution in 2008.


Now, City Safety takes on an extended, all-new role as the umbrella name for all Volvo Cars’ auto brake functions. The system is active at all speeds from 4 km/h (2.5 mph).


 Auto brake at intersections – a world first

The auto brake at intersections is a world first that deals with a situation that is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as highway crossings, where the speed limits are higher.


 “Our studies of accident data from this accident type show that an important number of these crashes could have been avoided or mitigated if the turning vehicle had been equipped with auto brake. The solution is yet another example of how our new technologies target substantial real-life traffic problems. This strategy moves us closer and closer to our ambition that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo,” says Lotta Jakobsson.


 City Safety auto braking functions

The purpose of the advanced crash avoidance system is to assist the driver through an intuitive warning strategy and a brake support system. If a collision is imminent, the system will provide automatic braking when the driver fails to respond to the imminent threat. The focus is on avoiding the collision entirely or reducing the car’s speed as much as possible prior to the impact. City Safety addresses:

  • Oncoming vehicles, including motorcycles and cycles, when the driver turns left (or right in left-hand traffic). City Safety detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.
  • Vehicles, including motorcycles, travelling in the same direction. City Safety is able to avoid a collision if the relative speed difference between the two vehicles is up to 50 km/h (31 mph). At higher speeds, the automatic braking helps to reduce the consequences of the collision.
  • Cyclists crossing the path of the car or suddenly swerving out in front it. Depending on the situation, City Safety is able to avoid a collision if the relative speed difference is up to 45 km/h (28 mph). At higher speeds, the automatic braking can mitigate the consequences of the collision.
  • Pedestrians walking out in front of the car. City Safety is able to avoid a collision at speeds up to 45 km/h (28 mph). At higher speeds, the automatic braking can help mitigate the consequences of the collision.

 Detection also in darkness

City Safety is based on a combined camera and radar unit integrated at the top of the windscreen, in front of the interior rear-view mirror. The latest technology upgrade is a smarter and faster high-sensitive, megapixel image camera combined with advanced exposure control. This makes the detection and auto brake technology work effectively also when driving in darkness.


The radar’s task is to detect objects in front of the car and to determine their position and movement, and the distance to them. The camera identifies what type of object it is. The technology continuously monitors the object – and a central control unit uses the camera and radar data to evaluate the risk of a collision and to initiate the most efficient counteraction.


In an emergency situation, the driver receives an audible alert combined with a haptic warning in the shape of a short braking pulse and a light flashing on the lower part of the windscreen.


If the driver reacts to the warning and starts braking, the system is programmed to automatically ‘fill up’ with more braking power if necessary. If the driver does not react at all, the auto brake is activated. Full braking power is applied approximately 1.0 seconds before impact.


 Avoiding real-life accidents

“Statistics show that about 90 percent of all accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Since City Safety remains alert even if the driver is distracted or tired, it helps to bring collision figures down considerably. We have, for instance, seen a documented reduction in frontal collisions in low-speed car-following situations by over 20 percent*,” says Lotta Jakobsson. She concludes: “Our aim is of course to continuously extend the City Safety auto brake technologies to cover more objects and traffic situations.” 

*Source: If insurance company, Sweden, 2012

About Volvo Cars of North America


Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCNA media website at:


The New England Motor Press Association, a professional organization of journalists, opinion leaders, influencers and content creators, is the trusted supplier of automotive information to the 14.5 million citizens of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. NEMPA has more than 130 dues-paying media and associate members who provide automotive content to national, regional and local print, radio, television and Internet media.

XC90, 2016, Product News
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