When the 2015 Volvo XC90 debuts at the end of next year, it will have at least three new active safety features. Volvo revealed today that it will use the introduction of the all-new crossover to launch even more semi-autonomous technologies.
The first of these technologies is an update to the company's existing pedestrian detection feature, which can identify pedestrians and cyclists and apply the brakes to prevent a collision. In the 2015 Volvo XC90, that system will be updated to work in the dark, which the company claims is a world first.
Another function monitors the edge of the roadway or a barrier at the edge of the road and can detect whether the car is about to drive off the road. If so, the electric power steering can nudge the car back on course. Volvo says its system works even on roads without clear markings because it can "monitor where the physical road ends."
The final new safety feature is an update to adaptive cruise control called steer assist. It will follow the current lane in traffic, allowing the driver to briefly take his or her hands and eyes off the road. Volvo announced this feature last year, and several other automakers already have similar technologies (the Acura RLX has a limited version of this feature, for instance).
After the 2015 Volvo XC90 debuts, the Swedish automaker also plans to launch several other safety innovations. An upgrade to the pedestrian detection software will allow the car to brake for animals, including in the dark; a Car 2 Car system will let traffic lights and other parts of the road network send messages directly to the car; and the previously announced autonomous parking feature will let cars find an empty space without any human intervention. Volvo has a publicly announced goal that nobody will be killed or injured in one of the company's new cars by 2020.
Little else is known so far about the 2015 Volvo XC90. It will likely use the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture, a modular system that can be used to build many different types of cars. Volvo also has committed to selling more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines instead of five- and six-cylinders, so the XC90 will probably use a variety of turbo-four engines.