In a statement released last week, Volvo Car Corporation announced that it is in the process of testing three new technologies aimed at improving the safety of its vehicles. They include autonomous driving, animal detection and intersection support technology.
In the statement, Volvo’s Safety Functions department function developer Fredrik Lundholm said the introduction of these new technologies are designed to accommodate the way people drive and to “provide the driver with the right support at all times.” The statement also said, “Surveys from three different research institutes in the United States reveal that modern drivers spend 25 to 30 percent of their time behind the wheel doing other things, such as focusing on mobile communication.”
The autonomous driving technology uses radar and a camera to automatically cause the vehicle’s engine, steering wheel and brakes to react to the movement of the vehicle ahead of it. For example, If the vehicle ahead of the Volvo swerves, autonomous driving technology will cause the Volvo to “veer in the same direction.”
Lundholm said, “Driving in slow traffic is a monotonous and boring part of many drivers’ everyday lives. Thanks to technology for autonomous driving, the car can help the driver comfortably and safely follow the vehicle in front.”
Volvo’s Intersection Support technology “uses sensors to assess the entire traffic scenario” when the vehicle approaches an intersection and responds accordingly. The Lundholm used the example of a line of vehicles turning left at an intersection to explain the technology. “When the light turns green,” said Lundholm, “one car after another turns left. Suddenly, an oncoming car drives through the red light and creates an immediate danger. In this situation, the turning car automatically brakes to avoid a collision. Intersection Support thus serves as a system that not only helps deal with the driver’s own mistakes, but those of other road users, too.”
Volvo’s animal detection technology is based on the automaker’s pedestrian-detection technology and essentially recognizes the shapes and movement patterns of various non-domesticated animals. The majority of vehicular accidents involving wild animals take place at high speeds. Lundholm said the animal detection technology reduces the risk of serious injury to motorists by automatically reducing the vehicle’s speed when an animal is detected.
All of the new technologies can be tailored to the motorist’s specific driving style and local conditions and can be overridden by the driver at any time. As Lundholm said, “It is always the driver who decides. He or she can take control at any time.”