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  • Study Shows That Volvo Laser Sensor Prevents Crashes
Jul 2011
ROCKLEIGH, N.J., July 26, 2011 — A midsize Volvo SUV equipped with collision-avoidance laser sensor technology gets into fewer low-speed crashes than comparable vehicles, according to a study conducted by two institutes concerned with highway safety.

A recently published analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that the XC60 midsize SUV from Volvo Car Corp. gets into fewer of those kind of accidents because of its “City Safety” technology.

The laser sensor aboard Volvo’s XC60 has been shown to reduce collisions. (Images: Volvo Car Corp.)

City Safety uses a laser sensor built into the windshield at the height of the rearview mirror. Between 2 and 19 mph, the car automatically brakes if the driver does not respond in time when the car in front slows down or stops — or if the driver is driving too fast toward a stationary object. If the relative speed difference between the two vehicles is less than 9 mph, the collision can be entirely avoided. If the speed difference is between 9 and 19 mph, the speed at impact is reduced by about one-half, mitigating the collision. City Safety is standard in the XC60 as well as in several other Volvo models.

HLDI examined claim frequency under property damage liability, bodily injury liability and collisions. Its data concluded that frequency rates for the XC60 were lower than all other cars in its class; specifically, claims under property damage liability coverage were filed 27 percent less often for the XC60 than other midsize luxury SUVs. Claim frequencies for injuries for the XC60 were filed about half as often compared with other midsize luxury SUVs. Collision claim frequencies for the XC60 were 22 percent lower than all other midsize luxury SUVs.

The sensor and camera at the core of Volvo’s City Safety system are located behind the windshield.

Besides City Safety, the XC60 is available with a pedestrian detection system that uses forward-looking radar and digital camera identification to track as many as 64 pedestrians and their paths. The system can scan an object and identify its shape using an image database of about 10,000 forms within 50 ms.

If a pedestrian walks into the car’s path and an impact is imminent, a warning light and tone warn the driver. If the driver does not react, the car will apply up to 100 percent available braking force, thereby avoiding a collision if the car is traveling 19 mph or less. At 20 mph and higher, the available breaking force will significantly mitigate the collision. Volvo said that its next generation of active safety detection will add animal detection via a radar sensor and infrared camera.

“Crash avoidance technology has a lot of promise,” said Adrian Lund, president of the HLDI. “We are doing more research to see if other systems live up to their billing.”

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