You couldn’t accuse Volvo of ignoring those people at risk of encountering the exterior of its vehicles rather than sitting inside them. The Swedish automotive manufacturer has already introduced pedestrian airbags and an automated braking system designed to avoid hitting pedestrians. Now Volvo has enhanced the latter to develop the world’s first auto-braking cyclist detection system, which is being presented at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.

The new system, with the catchy name of “Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake,” is essentially a software upgrade to Volvo’s current Pedestrian Detection system. That system uses sensors to detect when a pedestrian steps out in front of a car and applies the brakes if the driver doesn’t. Thanks to more rapid vision processing, the new system has been enhanced to detect cyclists in certain situations, such as one swerving out in front of the car.

PCDwfab (as we’re going to call it for the sake of convenience) uses a dual-mode radar that is integrated into the car’s grille to detect objects in front of the car and calculate the distance to them. The radar features a wide field of view to allow the system to detect pedestrians and cyclists as soon as possible. A high-resolution camera fitted in front of the rear-view mirror is then used to identify the type of object detected by the radar and calculate their pattern of movement.

The data from the radar and camera is fed to a central control unit that continuously monitors the traffic situation. Both the radar and camera need to confirm the type of object and whether they are on a collision course before a red warning flashes on the windscreen and the auto brake system is activated, applying full braking power if necessary.

In addition to pedestrians and cyclists, Volvo says the PCDwfab system also works with vehicles driving in the same lane – which would make it the Pedestrian and Cyclist and Vehicle Driving in the Same Lane Detection with full auto brake system, or PCVDSLDwfab system.

Volvo says the PCDwfab system will be available in its V40, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 models from mid-May in 2013.

Source: Volvo