Volvo Car Corporation says it is developing new safety systems to tackle changes in driving behaviour of modern drivers.
Systems currently being developed include autonomous driving support, intersection support and even animal detection technology.
“We have a number of research projects with the aim to develop technologies for future Volvo models,” says Jan Ivarsson, senior manager of safety strategy and requirements at Volvo Car Corporation.
Today's drivers differ from yesterday's, the company explains. Surveys from three different research institutes in the U.S. reveal that modern drivers spend 25 to 30 per cent of their time behind the wheel doing other things, such as focusing on mobile communication.
Drivers who make phone calls and who check their email and text messages are becoming increasingly common. “And since these situations affect the driver's attention on the road, they have to be taken into account when developing new technologies,” Volvo says.
New vehicle research is focusing on three main areas: staying safely in the current lane, avoiding accidents at crossroads and junctions and avoiding collisions with wild animals.
Autonomous driving support helps the driver stay in his or her lane and follow the rhythm of the traffic if queues build up. Using data from a camera and radar sensors, the car can follow the vehicle in front. The engine, brakes and steering respond automatically.
Intersection support, a research project focusing on Volvo cars, alerts and automatically brakes for crossing traffic when necessary, while the animal detection system detects and automatically brakes for animals both in daylight and in the dark.
“Development of these technologies is progressing very quickly,” Ivarsson notes. “And with steadily lower prices for sensors and other electronic components, it is our intention that these advanced solutions will in future be fitted to all our cars. Having said that, close cooperation with the relevant public authorities, insurance companies and other car manufacturers is also vital for achieving the vision of an accident-free traffic environment.”