Volvo Car Corporation leads the way in car safety: risk of being injured in a Volvo reduced by 50 percent since year 2000
Volvo Car Corporation's determination to build the safest cars in the world has been acknowledged by several independent crash tests during the past year. These results come as no surprise to the company's safety experts.
"Our own, extensive accident data base shows that the risk of being injured in one of our latest car models has been reduced with around 50 percent since the year 2000. And we are working on new technologies that will bring the figure down even further," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo Car Corporation's knowledge-driven approach to car safety is based on input from real-life traffic; including findings by the company's own Traffic Accident Research team, which has been operative for more than 40 years.
"A holistic approach and real-life traffic conditions are always the starting-point for our safety work. Our massive database with input from actual road accidents helps us focus on the areas where new technology creates significant results in real-life-traffic," says Thomas Broberg.
Auto brake results in fewer accidents
The efficiency of Volvo Car Corporation's approach has been highlighted several times recently.
- Earlier this year, the benefits of the City Safety technology were documented in an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) report, which stated a collision frequency reduction with up to 22 percent.
- A similar study by the Swedish insurance company Volvia shows that Volvos equipped with automatic braking are involved in 22 percent fewer rear end accidents than cars without auto brake.
- The final report from the EuroFOT research projects concludes that a car with adaptive cruise control and collision warning cuts the risk of colliding with the vehicle in front on a motorway by up to 42 percent.
Several top rating results
The effectiveness of Volvo's holistic approach to crash safety has also been confirmed by several independent tests.
- In the latest report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Volvo S60 earns the best rating in a new small offset frontal crash test in 40 mph (64 km/h).
- Last year, no less than five Volvo models - the C30, S60, S80, XC60 and XC90 - earned a IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Focus on assisting the driver
Future technologies include improvements of existing safety systems as well as new solutions. Volvo Car Corporation's present research focuses on three main areas:
- Autonomous Driving Support uses data from a camera and radar sensors to make sure that the car automatically follows the vehicle in front in a slow-moving queue.
- Intersection Support alerts and automatically brakes for crossing traffic when necessary.
- Animal Detection is designed to detect and automatically brake for large animals, such as elks and large stags.
Groundbreaking safety in the all-new V40
The all-new Volvo V40 is an excellent example of Volvo Car Corporation's ability to turn real-life traffic knowledge into groundbreaking technology.
It features Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake - as well as the improved City Safety, which now operates at speeds up to 50 km/h. Among the new features are world-first Pedestrian Airbag Technology, Lane Keeping Aid with haptic auto steering, Active High Beam and a Cross Traffic Alert radar system at the rear.
"The risk of being involved in an accident or being injured in a Volvo is continuously reduced. We keep on moving towards our safety vision that nobody should die or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020," concludes Thomas Broberg.
New type of crash aims for safer vehicles
Volvo S60 receives top score in new IIHS rating
New crash test aims to drive improvements in frontal collisions.
The 2012 Volvo S60 is one of only three mid-size luxury and near-luxury cars out of the 11 evaluated to earn good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small overlap frontal crash test. Wholly supported by auto insurers, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, non-profit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from automotive collisions.
The Volvo S60 and the Acura TL earned good ratings, while the Infiniti G only earned an acceptable score. The Acura TSX, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC scored even lower, receiving marginal ratings and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 earned the ranking of ‘poor.' All cars tested were 2012 models.
In the test, 25 percent of a car's front end on the driver side strikes a 1.5m tall rigid barrier at 64 km/h. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. "Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year," Institute President Adrian Lund says. "Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities. This new test program is based on years of analyzing real-world frontal crashes and then replicating them in our crash test facility to determine how people are being seriously injured and how cars can be designed to protect them better. We think this is the next step in improving frontal crash protection."
Most modern cars have safety cages built to withstand head-on collisions and moderate overlap frontal crashes with little deformation. At the same time, crush zones help manage crash energy to reduce forces on the occupant compartment. The main crush-zone structures are concentrated in the middle 50 percent of the front end. When a crash involves these structures, the occupant compartment is protected from intrusion, and front airbags and safety belts can effectively restrain and protect occupants. Small overlap crashes are a different story. These crashes primarily affect a car's outer edges, which aren't well protected by the crush-zone structures. Crash forces go directly into the front wheel, suspension system and firewall. It is not uncommon for the wheel to be forced rearward into the footwell, contributing to even more intrusion in the occupant compartment and resulting in serious leg and foot injuries. To provide effective protection in small overlap crashes, the safety cage needs to resist crash forces that aren't tempered by crush-zone structures.
Structurally, the Volvo S60 was best. With only a few inches of intrusion, the occupant compartment looked much the same as it did in a moderate overlap test. Reinforcement of the S60's upper rails and a steel cross member below the instrument panel helped to keep the safety cage intact. Volvo has performed similar small overlap tests as part of its vehicle safety development process since the late 1980s, taking the results into account when designing new models. "These are severe crashes, and our new test reflects that," Lund says. "Most automakers design their vehicles to ace our moderate overlap frontal test and NHTSA's full-width frontal test, but the problem of small overlap crashes hasn't been addressed. We hope our new rating program will change that."
(VCOA Commentary: Watch the Audi, Lexus, Lincoln and Volkswagen overlap tests as well. Pay particular attention to the Airbag shots at about 25 seconds.)
The Institute's TOP SAFETY PICK award recognizes passenger vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations. The front rating is based on the moderate overlap test. The Institute plans to make the top award criteria more stringent by adding the small overlap frontal test to its battery of evaluations.
"We won't have evaluated many vehicles in the small overlap test in time for the 2013 award," Lund explains. "Models meeting the current award criteria still offer outstanding protection in most crashes, and they will continue to earn TOP SAFETY PICK in 2013. However, those vehicles that also do well in the new test will get to claim a higher award level that will be announced later this year."