With vehicular accidents taking away millions of lives every year, Swedish company Volvo promised that by 2020, they’d roll out their first “deathproof” car. The renowned automaker has been studying collision-avoidance technology for years in an attempt to release safe road partners. The catch is, the company won’t be liable for accidents that resulted because someone “is just really, really stupid,” as per CNN.
What exactly are the possible features of Volvo’s promising car?
The adaptive cruise control will enable the driver to set a maximum speed. The car will then maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles, and will likewise operate the gas and brake for the driver. Volvo’s “deathproof” car is also expected to come armed with radars and sensors that could detect obstacles ahead. If the driver is still unable to act on the warning, the car will automatically apply the brakes. These sophisticated features will inform the driver, too, if he or she is drifting out of the proper lane.
There’s also the pedestrian detection capability that can save both the lives of the driver and the civilian. The car can again brake automatically if it detects a human form walking into the car’s path. This system can also work for detecting big animals unknowingly wandering in front of the vehicle.
The car will be capable of sending signals to wake up a motorist whose driving exhibits tell-tale signs of drowsiness. All these features will be married with advanced artificial intelligence to come up with a car that will rid the road of horrific crashes.
Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Cars North America, told CNN that Swedish engineers rarely make empty promises.
“If you meet Swedish engineers, they’re pretty genuine. They don’t say things when they don’t believe in it.”
For spokesman Jim Trainor, Volvo’s ultimate vision is to have cars that do not crash. However, these cars have to be smart, too, because they can become a burden for the driver if they execute their accident-avoidance features during inappropriate times.
“The key to making new safety features desirable to drivers is ensuring that they assist rather than irritate. If it false brakes too often, people get frustrated and they turn the system off. We need to calibrate the system so it gives the driver every last possible moment to take action.”
While Volvo is pushing the limits of automotive safety, the company isn’t oblivious to the fact that mishaps can still take place. The company is developing systems such as impact mitigation features and seatbelt tightening procedures for situations where crashes are inescapable.
Volvo takes pride that its XC90 SUV is included in the nine car models that haven’t been involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. for the past four years. According to data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the other models were the Audi A4, Kia Sorento, Lexus RC 350, Subaru Legacy, Honda Odyssey, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Toyota Sequoia, and the Toyota Highlander hybrid.
Safety technology systems are not exclusive anymore to luxury cars. Toyota, for example, will introduce a set of Safety Sense features for nearly all of the brand’s car models by 2017. The features were first seen on Lexus cars, whose owners didn’t mind shelling out an additional $6,000. Toyota was able to reduce the cost to $300 from $630.
[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]