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Volvo set to pack S60 with safety systems

Look out: Volvo says its pedestrian collision avoidance device can cut pedestrian fatalities by up to 85 per cent.

Pedestrian avoidance system in extra-cost safety bundle on Volvo S60 at launch

17 Sep 2010

VOLVO’S groundbreaking pedestrian avoidance technology will be part of an optional safety pack when the system is launched on the all-new Volvo S60 in Australia in December.

While the S60 will get numerous other safety features such as the Volvo’s low-speed crash avoidance system, City Safe, as standard equipment, a bundle of several high-tech safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control and the world-first pedestrian avoidance system will be included in an extra-cost safety pack.

Volvo Car Australia (VCA) has chosen to package these systems as an option to keep the price of the basic S60 range competitive with European prestige rivals such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.

Prices for both the new range and the safety pack will be revealed at the Australian International Motor Show opening in Sydney on October 15 ahead of the showroom rollout in December.

The powertrain line-up also is expected to be confirmed at that time, but expect at least one five-cylinder turbo diesel and the sports flagship T6 turbo-charged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine producing up to 224kW on an all-wheel-drive model.

18 center imageLeft: Volvo S60. Below: Volvo V60.

Also on the cards for an entry-level model is one of Volvo’s latest direct-injection turbocharged GTDi petrol four-cylinder engines announced recently for the S60 sedan and its V60 wagon variant.

These small-capacity, high-efficiency engines – in either 2.0 or 1.6 litres – come in three states of tune: 149kW/300Nm for the 2.0 litre and 110kW/240Nm and 132kW/240Nm for the 1.6-litre engine.

Volvo has also promised E85 ethanol versions of the petrol engines in future, opening up the possibility of VCA joining Holden and Chrysler in offering bio-fuel vehicles to take advantage of E85 pumps now being rolled out across Australia by Caltex and independent suppliers.

In Europe, S60 transmissions are a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed Powershift automatic.

VCA's pre-launch publicity for the S60 continued this week with an event to demonstrate the new-models pedestrian avoidance capability to the mainstream media in Sydney.

The company claims the system can reduce the risk of a fatal pedestrian collision by 85 per cent by detecting pedestrians walking into the path of the car.

The system uses a combination of radar integrated into the grille and a camera next to the interior rear vision mirror to detect pedestrians, taking just 0.5 seconds to trigger an audible warning and a flashing light in the driver’s head up display.

If the driver does not immediately respond, the car will apply full brake power automatically, which Volvo says can avoid a pedestrian collision at up to 35km/h and, above those speeds, slow the car to reduce the impact.

According to a Volvo press release, 3449 pedestrians have been killed on Australian roads in the past decade. More than a third were seniors above the age of 60, and one in 10 were children under 14.

Monash Accident Research Centre senior research fellow Dr Bruce Corben was quoted as saying that drivers involved in about half of pedestrian traffic fatalities did not brake.

“Travel speed is critically important to pedestrian safety,” he said. “Some nine out of 10 pedestrians struck at 30 km/h will survive.

“At 50 km/h, nine out of 10 struck pedestrians will die. In-vehicle technologies that can detect pedestrians ahead, activate braking earlier and so shorten vehicle stopping distances, show considerable promise, not only in avoiding collisions but, by reducing injury risk through lower impact speeds when collisions do occur.”

VCA managing director Alan Desselss said Volvo continued to set benchmarks for automotive safety while reinforcing the importance of a holistic approach to road safety – for those inside and outside the car.

“Volvo is committed to the safety of all road users and, with this system, arguably one of our most vulnerable road users is better protected than ever before,” he said.

“This technology has not been designed to take control away from the driver but merely acts as a back-up system which, unlike a human, can never be distracted.”

The pedestrian system was developed by Volvo over 10 years, being tested in crowded cities such as Paris, Tokyo and New Delhi.

The Swedish company’s next goal is to fulfill its Mobility 2020 vision, in which “no person will be seriously injured or fatally injured in or by a Volvo by the year 2020”.

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