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New Volvo XC90 to be ‘one of the safest cars in the world’

The new technologies (see video here) form part of the company’s vision that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020 and include a run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability, both billed as world firsts.

‘Our starting point on safety is the same today as it was 87 years ago: real-life situations,’ said Dr Peter Mertens, senior vice president research and development of Volvo Car Group. ‘We study data. We crunch numbers. We innovate. The result is one of the safest cars ever made.’

The new run-off road protection system is intended to prevent situations forcing cars off road, such as driver distraction, fatigue or poor weather conditions. The carmaker adds that half of all traffic fatalities in the United States are road departure accidents.

The system uses “Safe Positioning” capability, which detects if a crash is imminent and tightens the front safety belts. Meanwhile energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame helps prevent spinal injuries. This can be used  in combination with the Lane Keeping Aid and Driver Alert Control to help avoid crash situations. 

Meanwhile the new XC90 also offers auto brake at junctions. This detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.

Other safety innovations include pre-crash protection in rear impacts. In the event of the rearward facing radars detecting a possible rear impact, the safety belts are pre-tightened and the lights flash as a warning, whilst the brakes are activated to help reduce the impact on the occupants. Along with the next generation of the Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), this can help reduce whiplash injuries.

The new XC90 also features the latest-generation Roll Stability Control as standard – if the system detects a high risk of the car rolling over, it applies the brakes and restricts engine torque. If a rollover is inevitable, the Inflatable Curtains are activated, covering all rows.

The XC90 will also feature the City Safety auto braking functions as standard, warning the driver of a high risk of a crash and providing autonomous braking if the driver fails to respond.

Other systems include a revised version of the Road Sign Information technology, which comes as standard and now shows an extended range of signs. There’s also the Blind Spot Information System and Queue Assist, which controls acceleration, braking and steering automatically in slow-moving queues.

This is in addition to the model’s revised structure, which now makes more extensive use of hot-formed boron steel – the strongest type of steel presently used in the car body industry – making the new model five times more than the first-generation XC90.

Meanwhile Volvo has also announced a suite of parking and manoeuvring technologies – dubbed “IntelliSafe” solutions. The technologies include an extended Park Assist Pilot, which now also offers automatic reversing into a parking bay as well as entering and exiting a parallel parking spot. The XC90 can also display a digitally created bird’s-eye view of the 360° area around the car on the large centre screen. And there’s also the Cross Traffic Alert, which works when reversing out of a parking space and warns of approaching traffic up to 30 metres on each side.

Previously Volvo has revealed details about the new XC90’s engine range and in-car control system along with interior shots.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.