Volvo Car Corporation Improves Safety With Communicating Cars
Enabling vehicles to communicate with each other and with the traffic environment opens up fantastic possibilities. Vital information can be shared and exchanged - creating a safer and more comfortable drive.
This is why Volvo Car Corporation joined the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium together with other European automakers and suppliers. The aim is to have a common platform for CAR 2 CAR communication ready within five years.
"In the future we will have advanced exchange of vital information between vehicles such as their position, speed and direction," says Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) at Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo Car Corporation recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the members of the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium regarding the implementation of standardized technology for communication between cars from 2016 and onwards.
The aim is for inter-car communication to function between all cars, irrespective of make. Communication takes place via a wireless network (similar to WLAN) and utilizes existing systems such as the GPS navigation system. CAR 2 CAR has been granted a separate frequency so that cars within a given radius are automatically linked together and can exchange information about parameters such as their position, speed and direction. The installation of transmitters in the road infrastructure, such as road signs and traffic lights, further extends the communication network.
"There is considerable potential in this area as well as opportunities for many benefits in many spheres over and above road safety, such as a more uniform flow of traffic and additional comfort for road users," relates Erik Israelsson.
A few examples of application areas for the new technology:
Green Light Optimum Speed Advisory
Via a transmitter in the traffic light, information is provided regarding the optimum speed for a car to maintain in order to pass through a succession of green lights, thus avoiding unnecessary braking for red. At red lights, the driver can also receive information about how long it will be before the light turns green.
Emergency Vehicle Warning
Alerts the driver to the presence of nearby emergency vehicles, allowing him or her to create free passage well in advance and without being taken by surprise. This can be of benefit in the evening and at night in urban areas where emergency vehicles use their sirens more sparingly out of consideration for nearby residents, and also if loud music is playing in the car.
Road Works Warning
Alerts the driver to road works. Construction vehicles and heavy equipment can transmit information to vehicles well in advance of the site. Drivers can thus receive information about changed speed limits and altered routes near the work-site. The system can also keep the driver informed about the remaining distance before the end of the long road-work zone.
Slow Vehicle Warning
Slow or broken-down vehicles in the roadway transmit a warning to other road users. Receiving information well in advance can cut the risk of unpleasant surprises in traffic and thus reduce accidents.
Traffic Jam Ahead Warning
Alerts the driver to traffic stops or tailbacks. Since vehicles to the rear are alerted that there is a stop further ahead, there is less of a risk of accidents.
Issues a warning about local bad weather such as heavy rain, snowfall or icy roads.
CAR 2 CAR provides information about regular or temporary speed limits. This information is provided by communication units along the road that can pass on information about parameters such as road signs and their location on the route.
Emergency Electronic Brake Light
Vehicles that break down on the road create dangerous situations both for drivers and passengers in the stricken vehicle, as well as for other road users. CAR 2 CAR warns if a vehicle suddenly slows down.
Motorcycle Approaching Indication
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and in order to improve safety CAR 2 CAR informs other road users if there is a motorcycle nearby.
Red Light Violation Warning
Traffic lights that communicate with cars make it possible to alert a driver who has not noticed a red light, for instance by activating a prominent sound and light signal in the car. This technology also makes it possible to warn a driver going through a green light if another vehicle is about to cross his/her path by mistake.
"When the system is fitted into future cars it will be of considerable benefit to drivers and next-generation infrastructure, and will help improve traffic safety," says Erik Israelsson.
The CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium is an organization started jointly by a number of European car makers supported by suppliers, research institutes and other partners.
Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Car Corporation's international car range. Described features might be optional. Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.
Maryland Man Becomes Latest Volvo "Million Miler"
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Oct. 18, 2012) - On a recent Saturday morning, Baltimore-area resident Selden Cooper, 66, visited his dealership of 25 years, Lehman Motors Volvo, for a routine oil change in his 1987 Volvo 240 sedan - the vehicle's 200th oil change. That very day, Sept. 22, 2012, Cooper joined Volvo's growing list of million-mile drivers, a rarity for auto manufacturers.
"I never contemplated that I'd reach one million miles," said Cooper. "I previously had a 1975 Volvo 164-E. When I traded it in, it had nearly 250,000 miles on it, which I thought was outstanding. Needless to say, after that experience, I was not going to get anything other than a Volvo."
Years of commuting to New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia for work and to pursue a doctoral degree at Temple University steadily piled on the miles. A volunteer fireman for many years, Cooper recalls fondly his trusted mode of transit. "My Volvo 240 took me to the fire station in Hershey, Pa., to respond to calls thousands of times, including a night when the ambient temperature was -22 degrees," he recalled. "It started right up!"
For Cooper and his family, road trips also contributed to the 240's growing mileage. There was Halifax, Nova Scotia, at more than 700,000 miles; several diving expeditions to the Florida Keys; and dozens of visits to mountainous western North Carolina. "I've never had any trepidation about taking my Volvo on long trips," he said.
To reach one million miles, Cooper maintained diligent care of his vehicle and followed the service manual. "For 25 years, Mr. Cooper spent many Saturday mornings in our service lounge," said Ray Bromley, owner of Lehman Motors Volvo. "His commitment to maintaining his car really made the difference over the years."
"Mr. Cooper's dedication to his Volvo 240 reflects the loyalty Volvo owners have to their cars," said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. "At Volvo, we build cars designed around people. We can't image a better testament to the safety and longevity of our cars than several Volvo drivers surpassing the one-million-mile mark."
Cooper has no plans to trade in his high-mileage Volvo. "It does everything I want, and it does it very reliably," Cooper said. "It's absolutely my pleasure to drive it. Over the past two decades, this dealership has become like family. Even after moving to Baltimore, I continued to drive 190 miles to Lehman Motors Volvo in Mechanicsburg, Pa., for service. I couldn't imagine bringing it anywhere else."
While Cooper may try for a second million, "he's not too sure he'll be the guy behind the wheel of it," joked Mike Danzi, service manager at Lehman Motors Volvo. "Perhaps his son or daughter will assume the driver's seat."
Kudos from The Original One-Million-Mile Man
Shortly after reaching the milestone, Cooper met Irv Gordon, the only person to drive nearly three million miles in the same car - a 1966 Volvo P1800. (Gordon, a 71-year-old retired science teacher from Long Island, holds the Guinness Book of World Records recognition for most miles driven by a single owner in a vehicle, and has driven 2.97 million miles in his shiny red Volvo.)
"It was a pleasure to congratulate Selden personally and commend him on the impressive condition of his 240," Gordon said. "We share a sentiment for the reliability and comfort of our Volvos, and we also share a diligent maintenance regimen and practice preventive care vigilantly. Creating vehicles that can last millions of miles reflects the ingenuity of Volvo's engineers, but it always comes down to how the owner treats that car."
Gordon purchased his Volvo in June 1966 and immediately fell in love, driving 1,500 miles in the first 48 hours. With a 125-mile round-trip daily commute, a fanatical dedication to vehicle maintenance and a passion for driving, Gordon logged 500,000 miles in 10 years. Today, Gordon breaks his own record every time he drives, and, like any mighty record-holder at the top of his game, is mindful of his legacy.
"I'm not sure if Selden will ever break my record, but I certainly invite him to go for it," Gordon said. "There's so much to explore in this country - and there's no better way to do so than from the comfortable driver's seat of a Volvo."
Volvo Car Corporation still leads airbag development after 25 life-saving years
The first Volvo car equipped with an airbag left the assembly line in 1987 - and since then the company has extended the technology with several world-firsts. Volvo was first with both the seat-mounted side airbag and the Inflatable Curtain (IC) - and in 2012 the technology's 25th anniversary was celebrated with the introduction of the groundbreaking pedestrian airbag in the all-new Volvo V40.
"It is the first time airbag technology has been used to help protect vulnerable road users, in this case pedestrians, outside the car," says Lennart Johansson, Senior Manager for Interior safety at Volvo Car Corporation.
Lennart Johansson, who was part of the pioneering work in the 1980s, adds: "The benefit of modern airbag technology is that it takes very little space and still helps provide a good level of protection that can be optimized for the occupant and the crash situation. However, when we see a need for enhanced protection we always search for a total safety solution. The airbag is one solution and it can be combined with other measures."
Another recent example is the new knee airbag in the all-new Volvo V40. It is designed to distribute the load on the driver's lower body in a frontal collision.
The airbag has been a standard feature in all cars for several years, but in the early days both the technology and its reliability created intense debate. At that time, many of these anxieties were justified.
"Getting an airbag to deploy is not a challenge, but making it deploy at exactly the right moment is," explains Lennart Johansson, adding: "In recent years, the timing and the performance level of inflation have been in focus. And in modern airbag technology, the inflation level can be adapted to match crash severity."
The use of sophisticated radar and cameras in recent cars paves the way for the possibility of activating protective safety systems even before the impact if necessary.
Started in the 1950s
A look in the rear-view mirror shows that the first airbag solutions emerged back in the early 1950s. However, the technology was far from mature. One 1955 patent describes a system similar to today's, but with the significant exception that the driver himself had to deploy the bag by pressing a button. Another early debate focused on the use of a pyrotechnic charge to inflate the airbag with gas.
A controversial bill in the United States in 1984 speeded up the airbag development process. Focusing on the dangers of not using the safety belt, the bill stipulated that within three years new cars must be equipped with protective safety devices that did not have to be activated by the occupants.
Co-operation with the safety belt
The airbag was quickly recognised by many observers as the best solution and some even believed that it even would replace the three-point safety belt that was invented by Volvo Car Corporation back in 1959.
However, Volvo successfully argued that the best safety result would be achieved by co-operation between the safety belt system and airbag technology.
"More airbags will not necessarily improve the overall safety level. It is important to regard the airbag as part of a systematic approach where the car's structure, the safety belts, the airbags and other details such as the steering column interact to ensure optimum absorption of the collision forces in an accident," comments Lennart Johansson.
World-firsts in side impact protection
In the late 1990s, the airbag became standard equipment in the Volvo 850.
In 1994, Volvo Car Corporation took the technology further by introducing a side airbag that is integrated in the seat backrest, ready to help protect the chest in a side impact.
"We took a huge step forward by making the side airbag part of our patented Side Impact Protection System that is integrated in the body structure," says Lennart Johansson.
By then, it was already time for the next world-first from Volvo Car Corporation - the Inflatable Curtain (IC).
Extended Inflatable Curtain
The IC is designed to enhance head protection for both front and outer rear seat occupants in a side impact. In some car models, it is also helps protect the occupants in a rollover situation.
The roof-mounted version was introduced when the new Volvo S80 was launched in 1998 and is a standard feature in all Volvo models except the C70.
Instead, the convertible Volvo C70 is equipped with door-mounted inflatable curtains that are deployed upwards in a side collision and remain inflated to help provide protection if the car rolls over.
Volvo has taken this technology another step further by extending the curtain to also provide enhanced protection in offset collisions and for children in the rear seat.
Still vital, still refined
Airbag technology has changed a great deal since it was introduced 25 years ago - and Volvo has been one of the key players in the refinement process.
"Airbag performance has been improved significantly. Today's technology is much more adapted to the collision sequence and the way occupants are moved by the crash forces. After 25 years, refining the airbag technology is a vital part of our aim to build the safest cars in the world," explains Lennart Johansson.