Volvo's all-new XC90, which be fully revealed in August, will offer the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry. These new technologies are a significant step towards Volvo's vision that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.
The standard safety package will include two world-first safety technologies – a run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability. These two innovations will form part of a suite of safety features to make the XC90 one of the safest cars ever made.
“Our starting point on safety is the same today as it was 87 years ago: real-life situations," says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “We study data. We crunch numbers. We innovate. The result is one of the safest cars ever made."
Run-off road is a common accident type, caused by driver distraction, fatigue or poor weather conditions, for example. It's also a leading cause of fatalities – for example, in the US, half of traffic fatalities are road departure accidents, while in Sweden single-vehicle accidents involve one third of all fatal and severe injury crashes with passenger cars.
To help the driver avoid run-off scenarios, the all-new XC90 features a Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert Control, and Rest Stop Guidance. However, if the worst does occur, the Safe Positioning capability means that in a run-off road scenario, the XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened as long as the car is motion.
To 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.
Another world-first is the automatic braking at intersections.
The XC90 is the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. It detects a potential crash and brakes automatically in order to avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences of a crash.
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.
The all-new Volvo XC90 features a wide-range of other safety features as standard, such as the latest generation of Roll Stability Control, Extended Road Sign Information, Blind Sport Information System, and Queue Assist.
It has also been constructed using stronger materials to also improve occupant safety. Hot-formed boron steel is the strongest type of steel in the car-body industry, and has been used extensively in the bodywork and safety cage. The hot-formed steel amounts of about 40% of the car's 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," says Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.