Volvo has built its reputation on building cars that are among the safest on the road, but while it was once enough to build boxy vehicles reinforced like bank vaults, technology is now playing an increasingly significant role in mitigating or preventing accidents altogether. With the 2015 Volvo XC90, the Swedish automaker is looking to get back on the cutting edge of automotive safety, striving for zero fatalities or serious injuries in a new Volvo by 2020.
We already knew that the 2015 Volvo XC90 would feature at least three new active safety features, including an improved pedestrian detection system, an active steering correction feature, and an innovative use of adaptive cruise control technology. Now that we’ve got details on the new systems, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Volvo doesn’t have your back when they’re all working in sync.
Coming as standard on the all-wheel-drive 2015 Volvo XC90 are new run-off road protection and intersection crash prevention technologies. In the event that the vehicle’s lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning systems don’t get the job done, the run-off protection system is designed to protect occupants from serious injury when the vehicle veers off of the road; if sensors detect a run-off taking place, the front safety belts will tighten for as long as the car is in motion to keep passengers safely in position. Because spinal injuries are common in these situations when a vehicle makes a hard landing, the seats and seat frames are designed to absorb energy from these types of vertical forces.
The 2015 Volvo XC90 also benefits from a brand new automatic braking feature that engages when drivers turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. This technology is designed to minimize the risk of T-bone accidents, by sensing oncoming traffic and stopping the vehicle before a crash could occur, or at least slowing the car to make the accident less painful.
Tip of the Iceberg
Clearly Volvo did its homework, because the 2015 Volvo XC90 seems to account for just about every kind of accident that can happen on the road. The seven-seat SUV will feature pre-crash prevention technology, tightening seat belts and applying the brakes when rear radar systems sense an imminent collision from behind. The XC90 will even flash its lights in an attempt to alert the oncoming driver ahead of the crash.
If a crash should happen, Volvo wants to minimize the risk of a dangerous rollover. Standard Roll Stability Control will limit engine torque and strategically apply the brakes to certain wheels if it determines the risk of rollover is significant.
A lot of traffic accidents can happen during rush hour, and so Volvo added a traffic-jam assist system it is calling Queue Assist. In slow-moving traffic such as on the highway during frustrating commutes, the XC90 will take control of all acceleration, braking, and steering using its adaptive cruise, active steering, and sensor technologies.
Eyes All Over
Occupants in the 2015 Volvo XC90 are well-covered, but nearby pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers can breathe a little easier, too. Standard crash prevention systems will first warn and then automatically apply braking pressure if advanced highly-sensitive cameras detect a possible impact with others. The same goes for parking—active bay and parallel park assist systems complete with rear cross-traffic warnings are available, as is a new 360-degree Surround View camera system that's akin to Nissan’s Around View.
If you’re wondering how all of this technology will come together, you’re not alone. Volvo was mindful of the complexity here, and specially designed its Scalable Product Architecture that underpins the XC90 with an electrical network that unifies all of its varied safety and infotainment systems.
The Bank Vault Isn’t Gone, Either
The modular platform also includes more strong hot-formed boron steel—about 40 percent of the XC90’s total weight. According to Volvo, that’s five times more than on the first-gen XC90, making the new model stronger. Although Volvo is working hard to prevent crashes from happening at all, Plan B involves protecting passengers with some seriously tough metal.