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Volvo XC90 gets safety boost

Off-roader: Volvo's new XC90 has a wealth of safety equipment, including a system which senses when the vehicle leaves the road.

Autonomous braking, steering and parking all locked-in for Volvo's new XC90


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23 Jul 2014

VOLVO'S drip-feed of information for the next-generation XC90 continues, with thecompany confirming its as-yet unseen large SUV will be packed with all the safety gear associated with the Swedish brand.

The seven-seater will be equipped with a flurry of driver assistance systems from “world first” technology to a variety of more familiar autonomous braking and steering applications, in what Volvo says is the “most advanced standard safety package on the market”.

In a series of communications that started in May, almost every element of the car has been covered apart from its exterior design, which is expected within the next two months.

Kicking off a pair of what Volvo says are world-first technologies is a run-off road protection system, which prepares passengers for vertical impact – as is common to run-off accidents – by tightening the seatbelts.

Existing systems only prepare passengers for lateral impact, but by sensing run-off conditions the system can reduce spinal injuries caused by vertical forces.

The second of the two world-first systems is an autonomous brake which functions at intersections.

By monitoring its surroundings at junctions, the new XC90 can apply the brakes if its driver pulls out in front of an oncoming vehicle, thereby mitigating crash consequences or avoiding an impact at all.

Senior technical leader of Volvo safety Lotta Jakobsson said that the new technology is effective in reducing real world traffic accidents.

“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,” she said.

The new technology is supplemented by Volvo's existing safety systems in the new XC90 with many of the features from its range finding their way in to the new car as standard.

Rearward facing radar sensors monitor approaching vehicles and if a collision is imminent, the vehicle's seatbelts are tightened, brakes applied and hazard lights turned on.

City Safety autonomous braking uses similar technology with the addition of a forward facing camera to detect when collisions with cyclists and pedestrians are likely in busy city environments.

If an impact is very likely the system will warn the driver and follow up with brake application if no preventative action is taken, and the technology works night and day.

When in stop/start traffic the Queue Assist system can take over with steering, accelerating and braking inputs avoiding the risk of a driver causing a collision through lack of concentration.

Volvo's road sign recognition system has been developed to identify a broader range of signs, and will also feature as standard in the new XC90 along with a blind-spot monitoring system.

The various active systems are backed up by improvements to the XC90 structure, which now incorporates five-times more high-tensile steel than the previous model, to form a tougher occupant protection cell.

When a journey has been completed the new XC90 will be able to assist with parking too, and it will feature autonomous reverse parking systems as well as 360-degree view maneuvering cameras, which create a simulated birds-eye view of the vehicle.

The same system can also provide the driver with a warning if a vehicle is approaching from within 30 meters when reversing out of a parking space.

The new XC90 – which replaces the 11-year old first-generation version – will debut at the Paris motor show in October.

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