• Apr 30, 2008
Follow the jump for the video report on Volvo's safety goals

We all know how seriously Volvo approaches vehicle safety. At least we thought we did. In a new Reuters video feature, we learn that the safety-obsessed Swedish automaker has goals far loftier than we had imagined. You see, Volvo has set a goal of zero injuries or deaths to passengers in its vehicles by the year 2020. According to reporter Paul Chapman, Volvo wants to create a car that basically "forms a giant bumper" around its occupants to protect them if and when the need arises. A Volvo representative quoted on camera goes on to state that beyond the elimination of crash-related death and injury, Volvo would like to see the elimination of car accidents altogether.

While this admirable sentiment undoubtedly serves as a goal-setting mechanism for Volvo safety engineers, it's hard to view it as anything other than hopeless optimism unless you completely remove the human element from driving (and presumably replace all cars with Miracle Safety Volvos). You can build the most perfect car in the world and equip it with the greatest safety features imaginable, but cars can't predict everything, and humans are anything but predictable -- as any readers who commute amongst the general populace can attest. We'll know Volvo's really getting closer to safety Nirvana when it unveils a feature that determines when the driver next to you is simultaneously steering with his knees, reading a newspaper, sending text messages, and eating Ramen noodles at highway velocity.

Watch the full report after the jump.

[Source: Reuters]



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  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      www.ridesafely.com is proof that whenever anything released to the general public, they'll find a way to do something stupid with it
        • 6 Years Ago
        T'would be interesting though to see a graph showing if/how the number of deaths and injuries in Volvos has gone down over time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Famous Last Words:
      Stop driving like a moron you're going to kill us!
      Nah it's cool I got that new Volvo.
      *Screetch Crash Fade to Black*
      • 6 Years Ago
      When Robert Kubica can survive his horrific F1 crash in Canada last year without any serious injury I can't help but think passenger cars can be much safer than they already are. Go Volvo! Show the world what you've got.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are some really ignorant people commenting around here. Sigh...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, just because it seems impossible now doesn't mean we can't advance crash safety in the future. Volvo is the pioneer in crash safety.

        The XC90 is still the safest SUV on the road, introduced in 2003.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If this is possible, I think we have a replacement for Bumper Cars at amusement parks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Haha.

      So, when we get into a bumpercar, and purposely ram each other repeatedly without injury it's all dandy. But if Volvo tries the same thing with vehicles it brings out all the naysayers.

      Heres an 8th grade science project for you guys.
      Take an egg, rubberbands, and toothpicks, and drop it from a building without breaking the egg.

      Many of you are missing the fact that all cars will be networked in the very near future, and if you try to make them collide they will resist you. Why is this such a crazy concept?
      Ever hear of proximity sensors, lasers, infrared, GPS???


      • 6 Years Ago
      So... what about drive-by shootings?

      Oh well, back in the 1960's, we laughed at seatbelts as useless features when all you needed were good tires and RWD. Who knows, maybe Volvo is onto something.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love this idea. If NASCAR, Formula 1 and other race car drivers can survive 180 mph crashes, we should, too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you want to wear full nomex and a helmet while driving, and strap in to a six point harness, and not have room for anyone else in the car there's no reason you can't have the same survivability.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If they keep making boring ass cars, no one will buy them and therefore there will be no injuries or deaths.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, To all you Ranters, If a little boy said, when I grow up I want to be a Astronaut... Do you quickly tell him

      "IMPOSSIBLE!"

      Man... A goal is a goal. Lighten up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You're joking me. Make the car into a huge cloud of padding, and you can still drive it off a cliff into the Grand Canyon.

      Stupid marketing tripe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great more fodder for the personal padded cell.

      Make something fool proof and only a fool will use it.

      Sorry, but nobody has found a cure for death yet, and I don't see it happening. They may as well be searching for a way to power a car with perpetual motion.

      The thing is, that the government will use this impetus to regulate it to every other car company.

      NHTSA will rate these cars as the best, and the criteria will be adjusted to suit, no other car company will meet it at first until they build padded cells of their own, which of course, they will do.

      and then we are all driving around in 6000lb cars made of marshmallow over an accordion-style frame, with 18 interior airbags.

      Never mind that they only reach 50 mph (the legislators will cheer for that) and still only get 18mpg, or less, and get to their top speed after 4 minutes.

      some activist will get into an accident, get a hangnail from it, and mandate even more safety equipment, and the politicians will do the only thing they can do, and politicize it.

      Get a clue, volvo. Make nice cars, do what you can, but get over yourselves. People are still going to die, no matter what. We are mortal by nature. The laws of physics are not flexible, and they self-enforce, no matter what you do.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're more worried that our car companies won't be able to catch up.

        It's always good to have a higher goal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry to correct you, but I think your "nobody has found a cure for death yet" should have read: "nobody has found a cure for stupidity yet".

        Plastic surgeons are trying to fight aging, so I suppose it goes without saying that safety nuts are trying to fight Darwin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A higher goal is one thing. I have no problem with a higher goal. But common sense is a must right now.

        A complete farce and impossibility is another matter. One cannot live a certain way, and avoid death. One would die in a padded cell with no other lethal causes.

        Trying to put more and more barriers between chance, probability, mortality, and yourself will just waste your time at a certain point. It is better to live your life as if each day were your last, than to hedge against death, which is not possible in the end.

        I am actually afraid that other car companies WILL catch up to Volvo, and ALL cars will be rolling marshmallow padded cells. That isn't a viable option, nor is commuting to work in an M1-A1 Abrams Tank, or go to the shop Bradley Assault Vehicle.

        Better is good, unrealistic is not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree. I'd rather be thrown clear. Luddites rule!
        • 6 Years Ago
        And, Davido,

        A lighter car means LESS inertia. A light F1 car that is designed to shed parts and maintain a safety shell around the driver is OF COURSE safer.

        The driver is completely surrounded by rigid structure, held in place by at least 5 safety belts, AND a HANS device, the steering column doesn't get pushed into his chest, and there is no glass or roof to impact his head, inside a roll-over hoop.

        Some storm cellars are not that secure.

        A passenger car is an entirely different set of variables, and at least twice the inertia. They crumple, they don't shed parts. They have crushable metal roofs, and a lot of glass, and most cars are not equipped with roll cages, just the pillar structures.

        Pair that with another vehicle of similar or greater size impacting and crushing with your vehicle at a high closing speed. On a roadway, with close-proximity structures, not wide open run-off areas or yellow flags and radios to warn other drivers.

        Safety on the road is a whole different ball game of managing physics than a race car that is engineered with far fewer compromises, and at millions of dollars of expense per vehicle.

        How many cars are in an F1 starting grid, for how many races in a year? (even counting the same cars repeatedly for each race they start) A few hundred? All going the same direction on a closed course with the best of the best behind the wheel....

        Now, how many cars do you think there are on the road every day of the year. How many of those drivers are even competent? That is not to mention the potential for good street drivers to be in accidents. We are probably talking about billions of driver hours, in widely variegated circumstances and speed and direction differentials.
        What are the highway fatality statistics in the US alone? Far more than the casualties in any recent military active combat operations.

        Applying race statistics to the road is a fallacy.

        Safe is good, safer is better, but no one can prevent deaths. It is foolish pride and lack of understanding to operate on that premise.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The headline does not say "safer cars" I have said several times, I have no problem with raising the bar. Safe is good, safer is better. But there is a point of diminishing returns.

        The headline SAYS "ELIMINATE INJURIES AND DEATH by a certain time."

        That is a false premise for a goal, and they will not achieve it by anything other than by chance for a short time.

        If you challenge fate like that, it will make a fool of you. If you have the unmitigated gaul to say that you can control life and death to the point of preventing death, even inside the car you design, someone will find a way to die in that car.

        A premise of eliminating death is a recipe to throw every other piece of reason out the window, and everything else suffers for the fools errand to control death.

        It is a matter of premise and what means it would take to get to those impossible ends.
        • 6 Years Ago
        When Jackie Stewart and others pressed for safer cars and circuits in FI beginning in the late sixties, a lot of very "smart" people whose knowledge of racing was, I strongly suspect, far deeper than your knowledge of either physics or engineering said essentially what you are saying now, can't be done and racing be will ruined by the attempt to do it.

        Flash forward. There have been no deaths or career ending injuries in FI since 1994. There have only been three deaths in F1 in twenty years. And those cars weigh 1.2 tons, not 3.

        We're fortunate that professionals set "unrealistic" goals. If they didn't we wouldn't progress. And lucky you, you'll get to enjoy the fruits of the progress they make even if you don't believe it's possible.
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