Swedish carmaker Volvo has in a shocking pledge claimed that by the year 2020, barely four years away, all its vehicles would be death proof – meaning no one would be seriously injured or killed in a new car made by Volvo from that year onwards. According to ExtremeTech, Volvo would be relying on several new technological advances that would ensure zero injuries or deaths on its vehicles by 2020.
The company is known to track the number of serious injuries and deaths that have taken place in cars manufactured by them and then use the data to make their cars even more safe. It is on the basis of this data that Volvo has promised to deliver on death proof cars by 2020. Based on the data, Volvo seems to have estimated that they would be able to make death proof automobiles four years from now. These cars would make use of several technologies to ensure they stay death proof. Some of the technologies that Volvo plans to use on these death proof vehicles already exist and are listed below. However, it is the combination of all of these that would make Volvo cars earn the tag of being death proof. Let us briefly delve into what those features and technologies are.
Number one on the list is autonomous driving.
Several automobiles that can drive themselves exist as of now. However, by 2020, manufacturers expect to perfect them and weed out legal loopholes in order to make cars that drive themselves – eliminating the biggest reason behind fatal car accidents – human error. Volvo’s safety engineer Erik Coelingh is confident all Volvo cars would be driving themselves around town by 2020.
“With the development of full autonomy we are going to push the limits of automotive safety – because if you make a fully autonomous vehicle you have to think through everything that potentially can happen with a car.”
While autonomous driving might come as a bummer for auto enthusiasts who wish to drive the cars themselves, Volvo claims that even when the human driver is at the wheel, the underlying technologies remain on full standby to takeover the moment something goes wrong. It would be interesting to see how well Volvo manages to implement these technologies in a way that it does not impede the overall driving experience and make the vehicles really death proof.
One of the key features that would let Volvo make death proof cars is adaptive cruise control – which can be termed a subset to autonomous driving. This is a feature which is already seen on several modern cars. Adaptive cruise control would let users set a maximum speed and let the car drive itself while maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. It uses various sensor and radar to detect the driving environment.
Another feature that would help Volvo cars become death proof is the highly underrated feature of auto lane keeping assist. This feature would work in tandem with other technologies and ensure that the car steers itself correctly and stays in the correct lane. In case a driver does not react in time after detection of a potentially hazardous obstacle ahead, the car would first warn him using audio-visual clues and as a last resort bring the car to a complete halt if the driver does not respond.
Another major feature that would make Volvo cars death proof would be something know as Large animal detection which would let cars avoid potentially fatal accidents like hitting a moose or a deer.
According to a CNN Money report, death proof cars are perhaps already here and people are not even aware of it. It cites data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there exists nine cars in the United States in which not a single person has died in the past four years. Not all of them are Volvos – but the list does include the Volvo XC90. Here’s a video showing the safety features on the XC90.
While the claim of making death proof cars looks outrageous at the outset, Volvo is known to be the company that has pioneered safety mechanisms from the early days of the automobile industry and for the same reason, we have every reason to believe it.
Several safety mechanisms in use today have been invented by Volvo and later adopted by other manufacturers. These include modern three-point safety belt which was invented by Volvo’s Nils Bohlin. The technology was patented by Volvo and they were kind enough to make the patent open so that other manufacturers could also use the same. Other safety innovations from Volvo include the rear facing child seat – developed in 1964 and Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) in 1991.
Do you really think we would be driving around death proof cars by 2010?
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