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Volvo XC90 to boast two world-first safety features


July 25, 2014

Volvo's XC90 will feature two "world first" safety features

Volvo's XC90 will feature two "world first" safety features

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Volvo has already been bragging about how the XC90 will be the world's cleanest and most powerful SUV. Now it is touting the all-wheel drive, seven-seater's safety features, which will include an auto brake at intersections function and a run-off road protection package – both of which Volvo claims are world firsts.

Volvo says that road departure accidents are responsible for half of all traffic fatalities in the US, while in Sweden, one third of all fatal and severe injury crashes with passenger cars are single-vehicle accidents, with fatigue, distraction or poor road and weather conditions often playing a role. In an effort to reduce this statistic, Volvo has developed a run-off road protection package that is designed to help keep drivers from leaving the road and protecting them if the do.

To help keep drivers on the road, that package includes Lane Keeping Aid, which applies extra torque to the steering wheel when a camera in the car detects that it is about to leave the lane unintentionally. This is combined with Driver Alert Control, which also uses the camera to detect if the driver is tired or inattentive. A five-bar indicator displays the current level of driver alertness and, if it drops below a certain level, sounds an alert and displays a message recommending the driver stop for a break. The Rest Stop Guidance feature will even direct the driver to the nearest rest stop.

To better protect the driver in the event they do leave the road, the Safe Positioning system tightens the front seat belts to better secure the occupants for any impending impact. To further protect passengers, energy absorbing material was added between the seat frames and seat to minimize spinal injuries, a significant issue consistent with these types of accidents.

The second of the XC90’s "world first" safety features essentially takes over braking duties at intersections should the driver inadvertently turn into the path of an oncoming car. Volvo says this scenario plays out far too often on narrow inner city streets where larger vehicles may block driver views or on highways where faster traveling vehicles are difficult to see.

"These two world-firsts are further examples of how new technologies target substantial real-life traffic problems,” says Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "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."

In addition to these two safety features that will be included as standard on the XC90, the vehicle also boasts numerous others. These include; queue assist, which takes over acceleration, braking and steering when following vehicles in slow moving traffic; pre-crash protection in rear impacts, which tightens the seat belts, starts the lights flashing and applies the brakes when rear-facing radars detect an imminent rear impact; and roll stability control, which restricts engine torque and applies braking force to one or more of the wheels when the risk of rollover is detected.

The new XC90 will be revealed in its entirety next month.

Source: Volvo

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

It says quite a lot about Volvo drivers if the manufacturer seems to think that they need help in deciding that they should put the brakes on at a junction when a car is coming.......... Will the next "feature" be a light or voice that suggests it is time the driver had a "wee wee" before it is too late?


Nice But VOLVO still has a MAJOR PROBLEM with it's Transmission which will shut down on you at any given time in the XC90 SUV. Bet Sweden's Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, won't brag about that. In-fact Volvo refuses to address the issue.

George Ptrane

The first tech is nothing new. Lancia introduced the Absolute Handling System on the Delta in 2008/9. As part of this system, Drive Steer Torque suggests steering corrections to the driver, but will automatically intervene if it detects no or limited steering input to prevent a crash as a result of oversteer, understeer or lane departure. In conjunction with the other safety systems it would pre-load safety belts and ready airbags, as well as preparing to send an SOS to emergency services with GPS co-ordinates.

Volvo are well known for stretching the truth as anyone who remembers the Volvo 244 Saloon (1980s/1990s) advert with 3 cars balanced on its roof. It worked well for Volvo's claims of structural integrity, until it transpired that Volvo had welded a steel safety cage inside and airbrushed out the evidence.

The Master

I'm not sure I want the car slamming on the brakes for me or anything but there is an advantage in identifying a problem and taking action before I have a chance to.

Before we have fully autonomous cars we will have many of the pieces working along side humans. Human reaction time is ~200 ms when they are paying attention, its far worse when they are looking the other way. The car should be able to identify a hazard, cut fuel, and at least slowly start applying brake pressure before the person has removed their foot from the pedal.

Identifying a hazard that quickly could be difficult but in cases where the driver in front spikes their brakes as you are looking out the side window or something it would be trivial to decide to begin slowing the car immediately and prevent or at least lessen the impact.

As for the odds of the person behind you reacting in time if your computerized car stops too suddenly, that's a different problem.


Until they develop a system that can tell the difference between a child running out in front of you over a bin bag blowing across the road, self driving/braking cars will be dangerous on the road.

Jay R

They need to be safe, after years of poorly designed taillights, I'm still, to this day afraid of being behind a Volvo the fear of non working brake lights, and a rear end collision

Jay Finke

I see the whole concept of driverless cars as yes it COULD allow ageing drivers to be more mobile. (Take a cab, bus or ask a relative help you).

But the development will get railroaded by the large corporations with much deeper pockets as the lawsuits start to fly once the technology starts to fail, and it will. Either poor engineering, computer code, any number of failure modes, not to mention deliberate hacking.

The fact that not everyone will have the same technology or interface, any one of the current systems could be easily stymied by a speedster on a bike, or older model car with an aggressive driver, the safety systems will always back down "for safety's sake" leaving you flustered in a computer style "frozen state", reboot please....

Bob Flint

I'm in Portugal right now and here they have a great low tech solution to road run-off accidents. They are called "guias sonoras" - sound guides in english. Basically there is a white asphalt line at the edge of the road laid by a machine which crates a raised pattern on it like the teeth of a gear wheel. If you get sleepy and drift onto one of these the tires make a noise like a truck horn. I can tell you from experience that you are bolt upright in your seat and wide awake in nanoseconds. Let's just make these an international traffic standard instead of cooking up more stuff to go wrong in cars.

Dirk Scott

Are they going to install a Chauffeur?

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