Important step to realise aspiration that no one should die or be injured in a Volvo
XC60 equipped with variety of standard and optional active and passive safety features
The new Volvo XC60 can be regarded as the safest Volvo ever. It brings together all the safety knowledge the company have built up over more than 80 years and shows the commitment to the aspiration that no one should die or get injured in a Volvo.
In addition to innovations such as City Safety, Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) and a further developed Dynamic Stability and Traction Control system, the new Volvo XC60 is available with all the accident-avoidance and protective safety technologies that Volvo Cars offers today.
Holistic view of safety is a cornerstone
In 1927 Volvo’s founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson stated that “Cars are driven by people. Therefore the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is – and must remain – safety.”
Since then Volvo Cars has introduced a number of ground-breaking technologies. To this day the three-point seat belt from 1959 is the single most effective lifesaver on the roads. Volvo’s cars have over the years been equipped with an ever longer list of safety solutions. From crumple zones, safety cages, airbags and whiplash protection to systems for dynamic stability and driving control.
However, it is the interaction between the various safety systems and functions, not the individual components, that determines just how safe a car is. In the new Volvo XC60, as in all other Volvo models, safety is the result of a complete, integrated solution. This holistic view has from the very outset been a cornerstone of the Volvo Cars safety philosophy.
Safety: 3 main approaches
Volvo Cars’ development of safety solutions is based on three main approaches: the car, the traffic environment and the human being. The driver needs to be alert and have the ability to take quick decisions in stressful situations, which is often easier said than done.
“We focus on technologies that help the driver observe critical situations and avoid collisions. Traffic accidents should not be regarded as unavoidable. With the right technology, we can give the driver the support needed to help avoid accidents,” says Jonas Ekmark, manager of preventive safety at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
The Volvo Cars model and methodology for accident analysis means an extension of the traditional approach to traffic accident research by focusing on the entire sequence, divided into phases – from assistance to avoid a collision, to systems that can save lives and prevent injuries in a collision.
Based on these phases, the company develops and enhances its safety solutions – all of which are gathered together in the new Volvo XC60.
Helping the driver to be in control
In Volvo’s cars it is a basic requirement that the driver must always have good visibility and that the chassis, engine, brakes and steering together give the driver the best possible control over the vehicle. In recent years, Volvo has in addition developed a range of new technologies that all help the driver maintain focus on the road (all are available as optional features in the new Volvo XC60) :
Driver Alert Control (DAC): Unique technology to warn tired and inattentive drivers. This system continuously monitors the car’s progress between the lane markings and notifies the driver if his or her driving pattern is erratic or slightly uncontrolled.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): An adaptive cruise control that utilises radar sensors to continuously monitor the vehicle in front. It automatically adjusts speed to maintain a set distance behind the vehicle in front, from a one-second to a five-second gap.
Distance Alert (DA): Comfort-enhancing detail that helps the driver maintain the set time gap behind the vehicle in front even when the Adaptive Cruise Control is not activated.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS): A camera helps detect vehicles in the blind spot both in daylight and darkness. A warning lamp comes on by the side mirror to alert the driver.
Active Bi-Xenon Lights: Moving headlight beams that follow the curve of the road when cornering. For the best possible visibility when driving at night on twisting roads.
Park Assist Camera (PAC) – rear: An advanced function that not only gives the driver an extra eye to the rear, it also shows the intended course prior to a reversing manoeuvre.
Assistance in a crisis situation
When the car is about to skid or the driver may, without realising it, be speeding towards a vehicle that is standing still or moving slowly, preventive safety functions can step in to stabilise the car or alert the driver:
Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC): A stability-enhancement system that helps reduce the risk of skidding by reducing the engine’s torque when necessary and applying properly calculated braking power. The function, a standard feature in the new Volvo XC60, has been further developed in the XC60 to register the car’s roll rate as well. This is highly noticeable in dynamic driving where the car is exposed to high lateral forces.
Roll Stability Control (RSC): An active stability-enhancing system, also standard in the new Volvo XC60, that calculates the risk of rolling over. If it assesses the risk as high, engine torque is restricted and some braking force is applied to one or more wheels to counteract the rollover tendency.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW): An optional feature that alerts the driver with a gentle warning sound if the car crosses one of the road markings without an obvious reason such as use of the turn indicator. This function thus helps prevent single-vehicle road departure accidents as well as head-on collisions caused by temporary distraction.
Collision Warning (CW): If the driver approaches another vehicle from the rear without reacting, a red warning light is projected on the windscreen at the same time as a warning buzzer sounds. This prompts the driver to respond to the danger and in most cases avoid an accident. This function, that can be specified as an optional feature in the new Volvo XC60, is part of Collision Warning with Auto Brake which is detailed later.
Trailer Stability Assist (TSA): Helps dampen the snaking motion that can occur when towing a trailer or caravan behind the car. Stabilization is obtained by braking one or more of the car’s wheels and by decreasing engine torque. TSA is an entirely new function that is being launched together with the Volvo XC60 as an optional safety feature.
Avoidance of collision or mitigation of impact
In this phase an accident is about to happen. The car in front may now be so close that severe braking is essential. Some of Volvo’s preventive safety functions can now step in and respond if the driver can no longer avoid the collision on his or her own. However, these preventive safety technologies do not relieve the driver of the responsibility of driving safely.
City Safety: This unique Volvo technology, offered as a standard feature for the first time in the world by Volvo in the new XC60, can help the driver avoid frontal collisions at speeds of up to 30 km/h – typically in city traffic. If the driver is about to drive into the back of a vehicle and does not react in time, the car will brake by itself.
Collision Warning with Auto Brake (CWAB): A function that first warns via an audible and visible signal, then engages the brake pads to reduce the braking system’s response time, before braking automatically if a front collision against a moving or stationary vehicle is imminent. It is designed for higher speeds, primarily on highways.
Emergency Brake Lamps (EBL): If the driver presses hard on the brake pedal, the high-positioned brake lights starts to flash for a short while and then turns into permanent light. When the car has stopped the hazard warning lights are turned on to alert traffic behind.
If a crash occurs…
Volvo’s cars are designed to offer their occupants excellent collision protection. The car has advanced safety protection with safety belts, pre-tensioners, airbags, inflatable curtains and a strong safety cage. All in all, these advanced safety technologies help make a Volvo one of the safest cars in its class. At the same time, every Volvo is designed to be as gentle as possible on the occupants of other cars and on unprotected road-users.
Reduction of impact speed. The collision is unavoidable – the autobrake feature reduces the speed of impact.
Crumple zones: The front body structure in a Volvo car is divided into several zones, each with a different task in the event of a collision. The outer zones account for most of the deformation. The closer the impact energy gets to the passenger compartment, the less the material deforms. The aim is that the passenger compartment should remain as intact as possible to help protect the occupants.
Three-point seat belts: In 1959 Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt which has been a Volvo standard ever since. The seat belt is today found in all car models, regardless of manufacturer, the world over. We therefore say that there is a little bit of Volvo in every car.
Seat belt pre-tensioner: In a collision, pre-tensioners automatically tighten the belt across the body to reduce the seat occupant’s movement and help provide maximum protection.
Airbags: Volvo Cars has continuously refined the technology to improve protection in both frontal and side impacts. For instance, Volvo was the first manufacturer in the world to offer a seat-mounted side airbag and an inflatable curtain (IC).
Pre-Prepared Restraints (PRS): PRS is yet another new function in the new Volvo XC60. A laser sensor interacts with other on-board technology and controls the airbags and adaptive seat belt load limiters to suit the severity of the collision. The PRS can thereby contribute to further reducing injuries.
Side Impact Protection System (SIPS): A well-balanced combination of high-strength steel of different grades interacts to minimise penetration into the passenger compartment. According to our own and official statistics the patented SIPS together with the side-impact airbag reduces severe chest injuries by more than 50%.
Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS): Volvo’s system for avoiding neck injuries – WHIPS – is one of the most effective on the market. In the event of a rear-end collision the front seat backrest accompanies the passenger’s initial body movement and dampens the incoming force rather like one’s hand does when catching a ball.
Lower cross-member that helps protects lower cars: The front suspension subframe in the new Volvo XC60 is supplemented with a lower cross-member positioned at the height of the beam in a conventional car. The lower cross-member strikes the oncoming car’s protective structure, activating its crumple zone as intended so the occupants can be given the maximum level of protection.
Front that helps reduce pedestrian injuries: Volvos have energy-absorbing features including a well-proportioned, soft structure in front of the bumper. This helps counteract the risk of leg injuries. In addition, the bonnet has a raised shape and underneath there is a honeycomb structure that distributes the load in a similar way.
Compact, transversely installed engines: All Volvo models feature a transverse driveline and front-wheel drive. Transverse installation of the engine frees more space for deformation and helps reduce the risk of penetration into the passenger compartment in a frontal collision.
Laminated windows: The optional panoramic roof in the XC60 is laminated to reduce the risk of glass shattering. All the other windows can be equipped with laminated glass for comfort and security reasons.
Integrated two-stage child booster cushion: In the early 1970s, Volvo Cars was the first car manufacturer to develop its own child seat. In 2007 the company presented the integrated two-stage child booster cushion. The booster cushion helps position the lap belt correctly over the pelvis and elevates the child, making it easier to see out the window. The cushion is supplemented by a belt that is suited to the child’s weight as well as an inflatable curtain (IC) that is extra-long to help protect the child’s head.
Child seat anchorage system – ISOFIX: Volvo Cars has been one of the prime drivers behind the joint international project to develop the ISOFIX standard. ISOFIX is an attachment system that makes it easier to fit a child seat correctly in all cars equipped with the system.
Volvo Cars’ Traffic Accident Research Team
Volvo Cars’ Traffic Accident Research Team started in the 1960s. A few years after Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt and Volvo Cars had introduced it as standard in front seats, a comprehensive survey was carried out of the seat belt’s injury-reducing effect.
The survey, which was carried out in 1966, encompassed all cases of injury in Sweden that involved a Volvo and it covered a period of one year. The results indicated that the seat belt reduced injury frequency by 50%. Volvo realised then that detailed knowledge about what actually happens with the vehicle and its occupants in a collision is valuable in the product development process.
A decision was taken in 1970 to establish the company’s own Traffic Accident Research Team, which has worked continuously ever since. Over the past 38 years, Volvo Cars’ own traffic accident research unit has collected data from more than 36 000 accidents. This information has resulted in an invaluable contribution both to Volvo’s own safety work and to traffic accident research in general.
The Volvo Cars Safety Centre
In order to offer cars with a world-class safety level, Volvo Cars regards it as essential to ensure that the safety systems used cover every size of occupant, across a wide range of speeds and a broad spectrum of collision scenarios. For this reason 100 to 120 crash tests are performed with each new car model at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre and, before the car even exists as a prototype, it has been crashed several thousands of times in virtual simulators.
This unique facility in Göteborg opened in 2000 and is among the most advanced centres of its kind. The tests form a highly effective complement to the experiences gained from accident research in the field.