There are few things more frustrating than crawling along in stop/start traffic. Volvo has now come up with a system designed to make such monotonous trips a little more tolerable. At the push of a button, the traffic jam assistance system will automatically follow the preceding vehicle in slow-moving lines of traffic traveling at speeds of under 50 km/h (31 mph).
An evolution of Volvo’s Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology that was introduced in 2012 in the Volvo V40, the traffic jam assistance system uses a camera and radar sensors to automatically maintain a set distance with the vehicle in front and steer the car to keep it within its lane. The system can even follow in the preceding car’s footsteps (or tire treads) to swerve around obstacles providing it stays within the same lane.
"The car follows the vehicle in front in the same lane,” says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Corporation. “However, it is always the driver who is in charge. He or she can take back control of the car at any time."
The new system, which is set for production in 2014, follows on from the recent completion of the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project in which three Volvo cars were driven autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) following a manually driven lead truck.