Volvo’s always been the car company that prides itself on innovative safety technology that doesn’t get in the way of the car’s sleekness and elegance. They accomplish this by evolving with changing driver habits. So when three different research institutions in the U.S. independently release surveys that claim modern drivers spend between 25 and 30 percent of their time behind the wheel doing things other than driving, Volvo goes and invents things to allow you to keep up your distracted pace and not hit anything with your car.
What’s the culprit? Mobile phones and connectivity, of course. (People spend between 25 and 30 percent of their time talking to you in person doing things other than talking to you, if you haven’t noticed.) Volvo has thus started research in three main problematic areas.
- Staying safely in the current lane. Volvo’s come up with Autonomous Driving Support to avoid rear end collisions and swerving into adjacent lanes just in case volume builds up unnoticed while you type a witty comment on a friend’s Facebook wall post. Cameras and radar sensors will help to keep you in line and in rhythm by interacting with the engine, brakes and steering.
- Busy and confusing intersections. With Intersection Support, sensors assess the entire traffic scenario in case a distracted driver doesn’t notice another car peeling through a red light at the intersection they are turning through. Volvo puts it this way…”the sensors are the eyes, the computers are the brain and the brakes are the muscle.”
- Pesky wild animals like deer, bison and turkeys. Animal Detection will detect and automatically brake for animals in both daylight and the dark, improving on its already existing pedestrian protection system. The aim is to reduce the speed of a cruising vehicle from 70 mph to 50 mph once the wild animal is detected, which decreases the risk of serious injury. The technology would need to spot an animal from 100 feet away in order to get down to that speed in time.
All part and parcel of Volvo’s goal of no injuries or deaths by 2020 in their cars. Now if the drivers would willingly participate, we might get there a whole lot quicker.
Distracted? Need a new car?