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Volvo cars are no strangers to over-the-top safety features. During the seventies and eighties when Volvo sedan design was often described as boxy, their point of excellence was always safety.
Meantime, Volvo has made its mark in the design arena without sacrificing its incredible safety record. The new S60 and XC60 are no exception.
Just how impressive Volvo’s innovative safety features are, have been demonstrated live recently at the Tony Rust track outside Windhoek when a group of car enthusiasts were treated to a display of what happens when the vehicle takes over the responsibility of safe driving.
The day at the track showed just how dependable two new systems are i.e. the Pedestrian Detection Technology system and a Roll-over Protection system.
The Pedestrian Detection System is a unique in-advance mobile detection system that prevents the vehicle from hitting unexpected obstructions on the road, without a preceding response from the driver. Live objects are detected, assessed and if required, the car stops 1 metre away from the object to avoid a collision even if the Volvo driver fails to step on the brakes. Through a laser sensor in the upper portion of the windscreen, the system establishes the danger of collision when the car in front performs a sudden brake, or due to a stationary vehicle up ahead.
It sounds unreal but it does work as was vividly experienced on the track day by the participating drivers. “Getting behind the wheel and having your car stop just like that without you even realising that there is an object in front of you is just like soaring on the wings of an angel” said Valerie Beukes of the Economist after emerging wide-eyed from a test car.
Volvo’s Roll Over Protection System is their best safety feature yet. The ROPS is activated by a gyroscope that monitors the vehicle’s leaning angle. The safety belt pre-tensioners are activated at every seat to keep all the occupants of the car secure. The system cannot prevent a roll-over if the vehicle exceeds gravitational limits, but it anticipates the possibility, takes corrective action, and if that fails, prepare the occupants by automatic safety adjustments, for the event.
The probability of the car rolling into the veld is considerably reduced as the system intervenes proactively to reduce jerking and restore balance thereby preventing the actual rolling over.
The safety features are fitted in the Volvo S60 and the Volvo XC60.
Truly these features benefit the Volvo owners, as they reduce personal injury and lower vehicle repair costs, as they essentially watch out on behalf of the driver. It is a great leap in Volvo’s stated commitment to attain their 2020 goal of making cars that will not seriously injure its occupants, or, worse, kill them. Testimony to Volvo’s safety commitment is that this concept has now been taken a step further - the car itself starts looking out for trouble ahead.
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