New Volvo XC90 offering two new enhanced automated safety features and new automatic parking capability
|The new XC90 will automatically brake should the driver turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Cars’ new mid-size SUV XC90—which will be revealed in August—will offer two new “world-first” automated safety features: auto brake when turning in front of an oncoming vehicle; and a solution focusing on accidental road departure. These innovations will form part of a suite of safety features that will make the all-new XC90 one of the safest cars ever made, Volvo Cars claims. The company has a strategic goal that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.
The new XC90, which is based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and will offer a plug-in hybrid version (earlier post), also features IntelliSafe support technologies including an extended Park Assist Pilot, which now also offers automatic reversing into a parking bay as well as entering and exiting a parallel parking spot. The XC90 can also display a digitally created bird’s-eye view of the 360° area around the car on the large center screen.
Run-off road protection. Run-off road is a common accident type with different causes, such as driver distraction, fatigue or poor weather conditions. For example, half of all traffic fatalities in the United States are road departure accidents, while in Sweden, single-vehicle accidents involve one third of all fatal and severe injury crashes with passenger cars.
Even though there are currently no regulatory or rating tests to examine a car’s ability to handle run-off road accidents, Volvo Cars decided to develop the “Safe Positioning” technology to protect occupants should these situations occur.
The Safe Positioning capability means that in a run-off road scenario, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. The belts are firmly tightened as long as the car is in motion.
To help prevent spine injuries, energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame cushions the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain. The solution is capable of reducing the vertical occupant forces by up to one third. This counteracts spine injuries, which are serious and relatively frequent consequences of these situations.
The XC90 also features technologies that help the driver avoid run-off road scenarios. The Lane Keeping Aid applies extra steering torque if the car is about to leave the lane unintentionally, while Driver Alert Control, which is also standard, detects and warns tired or inattentive drivers. It also has Rest Stop Guidance, which directs the driver to the nearest rest area.
Auto brake at intersections. The XC90 is the first car to feature automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as on highways, where the speed limits are higher. The all-new Volvo XC90 detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.
Broad range of safety features. There is a wide range of other safety innovations available on the XC90, including:
Pre-crash protection in rear impacts. Rearward facing radars detect if a rear impact is imminent and safety belts are tightened in advance in order to keep the occupant in a good position. Lights also start flashing to warn the driver behind, and the brakes are activated to help reduce the impact on the occupants.
Together with Volvo Cars’ new seat design, which integrates the next generation of the groundbreaking Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), this new holistic rear impact pre-crash function helps reduce whiplash injuries.
Rollover prevention and protection. The XC90 comes with the latest generation Roll Stability Control as standard. The system uses advanced sensors to calculate the risk of rolling over. If the risk is assessed as high, engine torque is restricted and some braking force is applied to one or more wheels to counteract the rollover tendency.
If a rollover is inevitable, the Inflatable Curtains are activated. They cover all three seat rows for an extended period of time to help prevent head injuries. All seven seats in the XC90 have pyrotechnical safety belt pre-tensioners that also activate in rollover situations.
City Safety auto braking functions. City Safety will become the umbrella name for all of Volvo Cars’ auto brake functions, which are standard equipment in the XC90.
The purpose of the new collision avoidance system is to assist the driver in case there is a high risk of collision with another vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist through an intuitive warning strategy and a brake support system. If a collision is almost unavoidable, the system will provide autonomous braking when the driver fails to respond to the imminent threat.
City Safety now covers vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in front of the car, day and night. A smarter and faster high-sensitive camera combined with advanced exposure control enables covering the span from dusk to dawn.
Extended Road Sign Information. The XC90 is the first car on the market with Road Sign Information technology as standard. It has been further enhanced to show an extended selection of road signs in the digital display in front of the driver, such as various types of supplementary signs.
Blind spots. The Blind Spot Information System informs about vehicles in the blind spots. It also alerts the driver to vehicles that are approaching fast from behind.
Queue Assist. Queue Assist enables safe and comfortable driving by following the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues. Acceleration, braking and steering are controlled automatically.
To help keep the occupant space inside intact in a crash, the new XC90 has literally been made stronger in every sense. This is achieved by more extensive use of hot-formed boron steel, which is the strongest type of steel presently used in the car body industry.
The complete safety cage around the occupants is made from hot-formed boron steel and is designed for maximum occupant protection in all types of crash scenarios. The hot-formed steel amounts to about 40% of the total body weight.
This is approximately five times more than the first generation XC90. To our knowledge, this high usage of high-strength steel is unique compared with our competitors.—Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Center
The Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team has investigated traffic accidents since 1970. Today, its accident database contains information about 43,400 accidents.
By using knowledge from real traffic situations in the research, Volvo has learned how to design cars that offer a very high level of safety in collisions. The company regards this as a very important base of knowledge when identifying high-tech solutions that can help to avoid or mitigate accidents entirely. In order to take this a step further, the Traffic Accident Research Team not only studies crashed cars but also investigates driving scenarios, including driver behavior, in order to learn more about what can lead to hazardous traffic situations.
IntelliSafe parking. The IntelliSafe support technologies include an extended Park Assist Pilot, which now also offers automatic reversing into a parking bay as well as entering and exiting a parallel parking spot. The XC90 can also display a digitally created bird’s-eye view of the 360° area around the car on the large center screen.
The further-developed Park Assist Pilot facilitates both parallel and bay parking by taking over and operating the steering wheel while the driver handles the gearbox and controls the car’s speed.
The parking maneuver is based on information from twelve ultrasonic sensors around the car. When the driver activates the Park Assist Pilot in a parallel parking situation, the sensors start to scan the side of the car for empty parking slots. When a parking slot measuring a minimum of 1.2 times the car’s length is detected, the driver is notified by an audible signal and a message in the instrument cluster. In a bay parking situation, the slot needs to be the width of the car plus one meter.
The display then guides the driver step by step via texts and animations in the instrument cluster until the car is parked.
The all-new XC90 also features a 360° Surround View that gives the driver a bird’s-eye view, an overview of the surrounding area, seen from a point above the car. This bird’s-eye view is enabled by four concealed fish-eye cameras—one integrated into the front, one integrated in each of the door mirrors and one fitted above the rear number plate.
The 360° Surround View also gives the driver comfortable access to other views of the surrounding area such as front, rear and side views.
The IntelliSafe solutions in the all-new XC90 also include Cross Traffic Alert, which covers the driver’s back when reversing out of a parking space. It warns of approaching traffic up to 30 meters on each side, alerting the driver with an audible signal and a warning on the center screen.