Towards a crash-free future
Published 07/12/2015 | 08:01
Is a crash-free future realistic for drivers in Ireland?
Volvo thinks so and in a concept set to revolutionize driving has rolled out a vision for 2020 announcing that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. Here’s how they see the future...
Road safety remains a huge challenge In Ireland with the tragedy of 141 road deaths and 135 collisions to date in 2015. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 million people are killed and more than 50 million are wounded in traffic accidents every year.
Here are 4 developments paving the way for Irish motorists to move towards an accident-free future:
1. A Car That Can’t Crash
Cutting-edge technology means that drivers are now getting closer to owning a car that can’t crash. As Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Thomas Broberg puts it: “Cars shouldn’t crash”. A new ‘Intellisafe’ state-of-the-art safety system has been developed. This technology uses a combination of radar sensors and cameras to identify other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and will automatically brake if the driver fails to take the necessary action. This works in conjunction with Volvo’s Active Bending Headlights, which adjust left to right according to the steering input to help see around corners better and improve safety at night.
2. Safety in High-Risk Commuter Traffic
It’s not just motorway driving that poses potential dangers. The risk for low speed collisions in commuter traffic remains consistently high. Collision avoidance systems are becoming increasingly popular with motorists that spend a lot of time behind the wheel in this stop-go traffic. Volvo Cars introduced City Safety as standard in new models from 2008. The first generation of this technology worked at speeds up to 30km/h. It was subsequently increased to 50km/h from 2013. This year, City Safety has been updated in the new XC90 and now operates at all speeds.
3. A Wider Vision Globally
A collision-free future cannot be achieved by just one motor group and Volvo Cars has challenged the automotive industry and governments across the world. “Safe traffic has three main stakeholders: the car manufacturers, the drivers and the relative authorities and stakeholders in the infrastructure,” says Jan Ivarsson, Head of Safety Strategy at Volvo. “Creative cooperation between road traffic authorities and other parts of the automotive industry is important in order to gain solutions that will have a big impact. International standards are needed so that all cars speak the same language, regardless of car brand,” he says.
4. Today’s Drivers and Mobile Phones
Surveys from three different research institutes reveal that drivers spend a massive 25% to 30% of their time behind the wheel doing other things such as making phone calls, checking email and text messages. “We bring our social lives with us wherever we go”, says Ivarsson. “For us, it’s a matter of creating technology that provides the driver with the right support at all times.” With this in mind, there are a number of research projects underway at Volvo Car Corporation covering autonomous driving support, automatic braking and animal detection to prevent collisions.
Can a crash-free future become a genuine reality for Ireland’s drivers? The future may not be that far off.