Volvo drives safety
Volvo aims to design cars to handle myriad real-life crash scenarios — not just do what’s required to earn a five-star safety rating.
Its latest focus is on crashes that occur when a vehicle runs off the road, a major cause of death and disability on WA’s country roads.
Volvo researcher Lotta Jakobsson said the 2015 XC90 model would have a world-first run-off protection package. “Our solution focuses on keeping the occupants firmly in position and introduces unique energy-absorbing functionality in the seat, ” Professor Jakobsson said.
Using input from the car’s sensor system, the technology is able to detect a run-off scenario.
The front safety belts are instantly prompted to tighten to keep the occupants in position as long as the car is in motion.
When an airborne car has a hard landing, energy- absorbing components between the seat and seat frame deform mechanically.
This feature is designed to cushion the vertical forces on the spine that are typical of run-off crashes.
“By keeping the occupant in an upright posture while cushioning the impact, the vertical forces can be reduced by up to one-third, ” she said,
Volvo has developed three crash tests — Ditch, Airborne and Rough Terrain — to replicate various run-off scenarios, with crash-test dummies.
The XC90 also will come with technologies to prevent run-offs, including:
Lane-Keeping Aid: Applies corrective steering if the car is about to drift out of its lane.
Driver-Alert Control: Detects and warns tired or inattentive drivers.
Image: via www.volvocars.com/au/
© The West Australian
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