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Volvo Concept Cycle Helmet Could Prevent Crashes

System could avert potential collisions, even when rider is out of sight.

by on Jan.05, 2015

Volvo is partnering with POC and Ericsson for a new bicycle crash prevention system.

Helmets are designed to help cyclists survive a crash – but what if they could prevent an accident in the first place?

That’s the idea behind a “wearable cycling tech concept” Volvo Cars is introducing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Developed in cooperation with protective sports gear maker POC and electronics giant Ericsson, the system would establish a two-way link between bicycle riders and vehicles, alerting both when there’s a chance of a collision.

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While it’s unclear whether the system will go into production, it addresses an increasingly serious problem. Nearly 50,000 U.S. bike riders are killed or injured each year, a recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealing that the annual death rate shot up 16% between 2010 and 2012 as more riders took to the roads, particularly on crowded urban streets. (more…)

Volvo Unveils New XC90; Bets its Future on Redesign

Volvo to offer plug-in hybrid, new safety and connectivity features.

by on Aug.26, 2014

The new Volvo XC90 shown with the Swedish maker's President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

With today’s unveiling of an all-new XC90, Volvo Cars is giving the world a good look at the many changes that will likely determine the future success of the Swedish automaker.

While echoing the basic shape of the old Volvo XC90, the new ute adopts new, and more luxurious proportions, as well as a more sophisticated interior. But many of the most significant changes aren’t as readily apparent. They include an all-new platform, or architecture, that will serve as the foundation of many future Volvo products.

How Swede It Is!

The new ute, due to market next April, also gets a sophisticated, tablet-style touchscreen display to control everything from its infotainment system to its climate control. The 2016 Volvo XC90 also will see the maker introduce a wide arrange of new Drive-E powertrains, including Volvo’s new plug-in hybrid system designed to deliver both performance and fuel economy, depending on what mode it’s operating in.

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Death-Free Highways Have Become a Real Possibility

New study will show it is already starting to happen.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Volvo's near AstaZero safety proving grounds.

With the opening of its new proving grounds in western Sweden, the Volvo Car Group says it is moving “a step closer” to its goal of having no one killed or seriously injured in one of its cars by 2020.

Not long ago, such claims might have seemed the stuff of fantasy, or worse, cynical over-promise. While there’s no question that, in the U.S., highway fatalities have fallen nearly 40% from their peak, more than 30,000 Americans are still being killed each year. Nonetheless, we may very well be approaching an era when the highway death toll sinks to zero, industry experts believe.

The Last Word!

A sign of that possibility will come with the release of a new study next month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which will show a record number of vehicles experienced no deaths during the four-year study period from 2009 through the end of 2012.

“It’s a tall order,” says IIHS Senior Vice President Russ Rader, “But the goal is definitely feasible. We’re already seeing this happen.”

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New Volvo System Spots Pedestrians, Cyclists, Make Emergency Stops

Maker working on next-gen model capable of spotting animals.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Volvo's system uses a combination of radar and vision sensors to spot obstacles.

Volvo is launching a new safety system capable of spotting not only pedestrians but even bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic.

The latest update of the maker’s well-regarded City Safety technology, the system is designed to sound an alert if it spots a potential collision. But it’s also capable of bringing the vehicle to an abrupt halt, if necessary, should the driver be distracted or not respond in time.

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The initial version of City Safety, first launched in 2010, was designed to look for other cars, but Volvo has taken advantages of advances in vision processing, data crunching and software to continually update the system, which uses both a camera hidden on the windshield side of the rearview mirror and a radar sensor in the vehicle’s grille.

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Volvo Making Life a Little Brighter with New Active High Beam Headlamps

A bright alternative to dimming your lights.

by on Mar.01, 2013

Volvo's new system allows the driver to leave the high beams on almost full-time.

New technology has become as important to motorists as new cars, it seems, and Volvo is one of several makers who plan to focus on high-tech breakthroughs during the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the Swedish maker switching on its new Active High Beam headlamp system.

To be offered on its S60, V60 and XC60 models, the Active High Beam Control technology will allow motorists to leave their brights on at all times, using a novel, high-tech approach to avoid blinding other drivers.

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So far, that may not sound so unique.  As far back as the 1960s, some luxury cars were equipped with primitive light sensors that were intended to detect the lights of oncoming vehicles and automatically dim the vehicle’s headlamps.  Similar technology has become relatively common today.

But instead of switching back to low beams, which means far less visibility on back roads or moonless nights, Volvo’s new system doesn’t dim its headlamps.  Instead, it automatically blocks out a portion of the high beam to prevent it from blinding other drivers.

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Volvo Hit With $1.5 Mil Fine for Delaying Recalls

by on Jul.06, 2012

Volvo has been fined for delaying a series of recalls.

Volvo’s shiny halo as an automotive safety advocates has been tarnished a bit by federal regulators who allege the Swedish maker illegally delayed action on seven separate recalls.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is fining Volvo $1.5 million for the delays which involved a total of 32,000 vehicles in 2010 and 2012.  Some of the recalls were relatively minor, such as one involving incorrect tire pressure labels, but others were more significant, including problems with vehicle stalling and defective airbags.

The Last Word!

Though it officially denies any wrongdoing, Volvo has agreed to pay the fines and stated that it has “taken steps to improve the review process and analysis of potential quality and safety issues with our vehicles.”

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Volvo Offering World’s First Pedestrian Airbag

Safety systems also can brake for foot traffic.

by on Mar.08, 2012

Volvo introduces the world's first pedestrian airbag system on the new V40.

By even the most conservative estimates airbags have saved thousands of lives since the auto industry began phasing them into widespread use two decades ago.  And now, Volvo is betting it can also save pedestrian lives with the world’s first external airbag.

The new system is one of the many high-tech safety features being introduced on the Swedish maker’s new V40 wagon, which is itself making its world debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show.

News from Geneva!

The 5-door features – as one might expect of Volvo – a wide range of advanced safety technology, and along with the new airbag system the V40 has Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection technology designed to prevent a collision in the first place.

The V40 itself is based on an all-new architecture that is intended to serve as the platform for a wide variety of upcoming Volvo products, including replacements for the current C30 coupe, S40 sedan and even the bigger V50 wagon.

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Volvo Set on Shift to 4-Cylinders

Maker betting fewer cylinders will equal more sales.

by on Feb.09, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

Volvo is committed to using only four-cylinder engines across its entire model line but it could take as long as five years to implement the strategy completely, according to John Maloney, the Chinese-owned Swedish maker’s U.S. president and chief executive officer.

During a keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show, Maloney pointed to ongoing market trends and the likelihood that fuel prices will ultimately go up again to explain why Volvo is moving to an exclusive four-cylinder strategy even while key competitors emphasize sixes, eights and even 12-cylinder powertrains.

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“It just makes sense,” he said, noting that not only are fours more fuel-efficient but today able to match the power and performance of traditional, larger engines.  The technology also will make Volvo’s operations more efficient but simplifying the company’s purchasing and manufacturing operations.

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Volvo S60 R-Design Bucks Classic – if Boring –Image

Niche car could broaden Swedish maker’s global appeal.

by on Aug.18, 2011

Volvo's S60 R-Design features the maker's most powerful production engine ever.

The new Volvo S60 R-Design isn’t for everyone.  In fact, with anticipated sales of less than 1,500 vehicles, the new model will barely show up on the sales charts.  Nonetheless, the Swedish maker is betting the most powerful model it has ever put on the street will surprise those who still think of Volvo as building nothing but safe, boxy and boring automobiles.

“The S60 R-Design is the next step for Volvo,” insists Frank Vacca, who serves as brand manager for the overall S60 line-up.

Stay in the Loop!

With its 325 horsepower inline-six, Volvo is targeting the R-Design at buyers who’ve traditionally ignored its products in favor of more performance-oriented brands like Audi and BMW.  If the company is right, the new model could begin to re-position Volvo as a more serious player in the global luxury market – and build demand for the company’s more mainstream products, as well.

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Auto-Braking Systems Sharply Reduce Accidents

Volvo City Safety eliminating 25% of rear-end collisions.

by on Jul.19, 2011

Volvo's City Safety system has been updated to help prevent pedestrian collisions, as well.

The “fender-bender” is the bane of rush-hour travelers.  But a new study says auto-braking safety systems, which are designed to react automatically should a driver miss an impending collision, are having, if you will, a major impact, preventing at least one in four rear-end collisions.

A study of insurance claims by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that Volvo’s City Safe system, in particular, reduced the number of vehicle damage claims by 27%, while insurance claims related to bodily injuries dropped by 51% on vehicles using the technology.

A Safe Bet!

“This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,” said Adrian Lund, president of the HLDI.

The City Safety system uses an infrared laser sensor attached to the windshield to monitor traffic in front of a vehicle.  At speeds ranging from 2 to 19 mph – typical on crowded urban and in rush hour traffic – the system will detect a potential collision.  If the driver doesn’t react by the time the two cars are 18 feet apart, it will automatically jam on the brakes.

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