World News: Volvo introduces new and updated safety technologies

World News:  Volvo introduces new and updated safety technologies

Volvo has announced new and updated safety technologies to alert tired and distracted drivers, and to help prevent rear-end collisions.

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause about 100,000 accidents every year in the US, causing 1,500 fatalities and more than 70,000 injured drivers and passengers. Around one quarter of all accidents and one third of all fatalities are caused by single-vehicle road departures.

The situation is similar in Europe. The German Insurance Association GDV estimates that about 25% of all fatal accidents on the German Autobahn are caused by driver fatigue.

In an effort to address these problems, Volvo’s Driver Alert System comprises two technologies:

Driver Alert Control
Driver Alert Control is a world first in passenger cars. The system consists of a camera, a number of sensors and a control unit.

The system monitors the car’s movements and alerts the driver if his concentration level is affected, for instance during long journeys.

Driver Alert Control can also cover situations where the driver is focusing too much on his cell phone or children in the car, and consequently not having full control of the vehicle.

Volvo's Driver Alert Control is intended primarily for situations where the risk of losing concentration is the greatest and where an accident would have severe consequences. For example, a straight, smooth road that lulls the driver into a sense of relaxation and where the risk of distracting activities or falling asleep is higher.

Lane Departure Warning
Lane Departure Warning alerts the driver if the car crosses one of the road markings without an obvious reason.

Volvo’s researchers estimate that the LDW system can help prevent 30-40% of these types of accidents at speeds between 70 and 100 km/h.

Both the DAC and LDW systems step in at 65 km/h and stay active as long as the speed exceeds 60 km/h.

Rear impacts represent a third of all reported accidents – and in more than 50% of these accidents, the driver doesn't brake at all.

To address this problem, Volvo has introduced Collision Warning with Auto Brake (CAWB) – a refined system that initially warns the driver and pre-charges the brakes. The brakes are automatically activated if the driver doesn't act when a rear-end collision with a moving or stationary vehicle is imminent.

While the original system is radar-based, the CWAB uses both radar and a camera to detect vehicles in front of the car. The long-range radar reaches 150 metres in front of the car while the camera range is 55 metres. By using Data Fusion to combine information from the radar and the camera, the system becomes more efficient.

If the car approaches another vehicle from behind and the driver does not react, a red warning light flashes in the head-up display on the windscreen, and an audible signal can be heard. If the risk of a collision increases despite the warning, the brake support is activated. If the driver doesn't brake and the sensor system determines that a collision is imminent, the brakes are activated.

Auto Brake is designed to reduce the impact speed and thus reduce the risk of injury to the occupants of both vehicles. A reduction in collision speed from 60 km/h to 50 km/h, for example, gives approximately 30% less impact energy, which can mean the difference between a serious injury and minor consequences for the vehicle’s occupants.

Volvo has also developed Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which helps the driver by maintaining the distance to the car in front. ACC uses a radar sensor to continuously measure the distance to the vehicles in front and the system automatically adapts the speed of the car to ensure that the distance is maintained.

When the radar sensor detects a slower vehicle in front of the car, the speed is automatically adapted to that vehicle even when it changes speed.

Distance Alert (DA) is another new feature that helps the driver keep a proper distance to the vehicle in front even when the ACC is disengaged. As with ACC, the driver can choose between five settings. If the time gap to the car in front becomes shorter than the selected value, the driver gets visual information in the head-up display on the lower part of the windscreen.

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