Major technological advances in active and passive safety usher in a new generation of protection
In nearly every area of occupant safety – from highly sophisticated crash energy management in the chassis and new side impact air bags, to swiveling headlights and a new generation of support systems that help the driver make the right decisions – the all new Volvo S80 expands Volvo Car Corporation’s leadership in both preventative and protective safety.
Next Generation Safety
In the tradition of the first generation Volvo S80 luxury sedan that introduced innovations like the Inflatable Curtain (IC) head and upper body protection, and the ground-breaking Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) seating, the second generation S80 is a showcase of Volvo safety research and development.
The long list of innovations in protective (passive) safety is impressive,…including sophisticated crash energy absorption systems in the structure, the next generation of WHIPS whiplash mitigation, new Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) side airbags with separate chambers to protect chest and hips, and new protection for pedestrians.
“The next generation S80 features a patented advanced body structure, offering high torsional rigidity which very effectively contributes to impact energy absorption,” says Silvia Güllsdorf, S80 Project Director at Volvo Cars.
The patented front body structure in the Volvo S80 has been divided into zones, each with a different task during the deformation process in a collision. The outer zones are responsible for most of the deformation. The closer the collision forces get to the passenger compartment, the less the material deforms.
The design of the drivetrain, including the transverse mounting of the engines and significant engineering to reduce the exterior dimensions of the engines and transmissions, has added additional deformation capacity in the engine compartment. “There is a great deal of creativity and advanced engine technology behind these solutions,” says Güllsdorf.
Improved Side Airbag
A new side airbag helps the patented Volvo Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) become even more effective. The new airbags have two separate chambers – one for the hips and one for the chest. As the hips can withstand greater forces than the chest, the lower chamber can be inflated to a pressure that is up to five times higher than in the upper chamber. The new side airbags interact with the Inflatable Curtains (IC) and the body’s structure to optimize protection. Both the sills and the B-pillars have been reinforced.
Improved WHIPS System
Rear impact protection is also enhanced. The groundbreaking WHIPS system in the S80 has been improved to provide better compliance and support for the head in the event of an impact.
Protection for pedestrians and cyclists was also a consideration in the design of the all new S80. The front of the car has energy-absorbing features, including a well-proportioned, soft structure in front of the bumper to mitigate the risk of leg injuries. The lower edge of the spoiler has been reinforced and moved forward, almost in line with the bumper, to distribute the impact, on a leg for example, over a greater area to reduce the risk of injury.
The shape of the hood has been raised and a honeycomb structure underneath distributes the load on impact, helping to absorb the forces and reduce the risks of injury.
Active Bi-Xenon Lights
To produce an optimal range of vision when driving in the dark on winding roads, Volvo Cars has introduced the Active Bi-Xenon Light – swivelling headlights that follow the bends in the road. Road situations are measured and analyzed using a mini-processor which then optimizes the lighting. The headlights can be swivelled up to 15 degrees in each direction, and have the capacity to illuminate a longer distance when the road is winding. To save wear on the system, this function is disconnected automatically in daylight.
The angle of the headlights adjusts to variables such as vehicle load, acceleration, and braking to help reduce the risk of blinding oncoming road users. The headlights are cleaned by means of an electro-mechanical, high-pressure system that washes one headlight at a time to offer the best possible illumination.
Personal Security -- the PCC
Improved personal security is also a high priority for many buyers, and the Personal Car Communicator (PCC) is a world first from Volvo Cars that will help address their concerns.
The new PCC is an advanced pocket-sized control module that both sends and received information from the car. In its personal security role, the PCC provides information which could be crucial to the security of the car owner. By simply pressing a button, the car owner can acquire information within a few seconds:
The information is accessible and relevant as long as the distance between the PCC and the car is within approximately 300 feet. The most recent information is stored in the module so that at any time and in any place a check can be made to see if the car was actually locked when it was parked.
“Personal security is one of the cornerstones of the Volvo safety profile,” says Güllsdorf. “It is about having your car left undisturbed and avoiding situations that could entail personal risk.”
Please note the PCC may not be available in some markets.
Other safety technologies in the all new Volvo S80
Energy Absorption and Deformation
To give each zone the correct properties, the steel grades have been varied. Four different grades of steel are used. Apart from conventional bodywork steel, three different grades of high-strength steel are strategically placed: High Strength Steel, Extra High Strength Steel and Ultra High Strength Steel.
LOW-SPEED DEFORMATION ZONE
The front bumper incorporates a rigid crossmember made of Ultra High-Strength Steel. The attachments to the body's longitudinal members are designed in the form of “crash boxes”. These help absorb the forces in a low-speed collision without damage to the other parts of the body structure.
HIGH-SPEED DEFORMATION ZONE
Portions of the longitudinal chassis members are made of High-Strength Steel - very ductile steel that is optimized for high-energy absorption. This zone accounts for most of the deformation.
The section of the crossmember that turns outward towards the A-pillars act as a barrier to protect the passenger compartment, serving as a back-up to reduce deformation. The design also helps minimize the risk of the front wheel penetrating the passenger compartment. Instead, the wheel helps to absorb the collision forces. This section is very rigid and is made of Extra High-Strength Steel.
A rigid side member links the A-pillars and the lower side members so that they form an extremely rigid three-way attachment on each side. The design contributes significantly to protecting the passenger compartment in a serious collision.
For More Information:
Stephen R Bohannon
Volvo Cars Of North Am Erica
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