Volvo's "City Safety" system can help to avoid accident... Volvo's "City Safety" system can help to avoid accidents (Volvo).
A new study seems to validate that a radar-based collision avoidance system in a vehicle will substantially lower a driver's chance of being in an accident.

Swedish automaker Volvo has such a system on its XC60 crossover, called "City Safety." The system uses infra-red laser sensors to spot likely accidents about to happen at speeds ranging from 2 mph to 19 mph. If the driver fails to react in time to avoid the accident, the system automatically kicks in and activates the car's brakes.

The Volvo has been involved in 27% fewer property damage events than other mid-sized luxury SUVs, according to a report released by the Highway Loss Data Institute. The XC60 was also involved in 51% fewer "bodily injury" incidents. The real validation for the Volvo system, though, came from the finding that the XC60 was 19% less likely than other Volvos to be involved in an accident, thus putting aside the idea that the numbers would favor Volvo over other brands because buyers of the Swedish cars tend to drive more cautiously than other drivers.

This is exactly what the company needed to help overcome the spectacular failures it had testing its avoidance radar system for media in 2010. The car avoidance system failed in front of Swedish journalists in May, resulting in a Swedish news piece showing a car smashing into the back of a truck. Even without subtitles, it's clear the piece was an embarrassment.

In September, videos of cars plowing down mannequins meant to represent pedestrians hit the Internet, resulting in a lot of snarky laughter and doubt that Volvo's safety systems work as intended.



Volvo has long marketed its brand around safety, pitching the cars as being better protectors of drivers and their occupants than other brands, so the findings, the first of their kind to validate such systems, is a boon to their image.

The survey by the Highway Loss Data Institute suggests that collision avoidance systems can help distracted motorists. Driver error accounts for 90 percent of all crashes. According to Volvo, 75% of all crashes occur at speeds below 18 mph.

Later this year, the Institute plans to study the effectiveness of collision avoidance systems designed for higher speeds.

How does it work? AOL Autos has demonstrated the technology at auto shows. The system uses laser and radar to detect cars up to 20 feet ahead by picking up reflections from tail-lamps, glass, license plates and even the vehicle's paint. If a driver has not applied the brakes, the system does it automatically.

The "technology package" in which the system is offered on the XC60 costs $2,100.

Other vehicles and car companies have systems similar to Volvo's that try to accomplish the same thing.

Ford developed a radar-based active collision avoidance system that combines auditory warnings, like chimes ringing, with braking to help reduce the incidence and severity of accidents. The Collision Warning part of the system uses radar to detect moving vehicles and stationary objects ahead of the driver, and sounds an alarm when the computer detects the driver not reacting.

Other models that offer collision avoidance systems include the BMW 5-Series and 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class and S Class, Acura RL and Infiniti FX, Lincoln MKT and MKS and Ford Taurus.


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  • 216 Comments
      eulerckt
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't help but remember the F-111...swingwing aircraft with terrain avoidance radar. They could fly extremely close to the ground...the system responded MUCH faster than the human pilot...until it quit working. That's why the early model earned the nickname 'Aardvark'. Thest high-tech devices are manufactured to European electronic standards (no-lead solder). Long term reliability is poor due to corrosion and the development of conductive whiskers. Check out the warranty on your newer cars....50000 miles bumper to bumper (except for electronics), 100000 miles drive train, 36000 miles for electronics . If you people think you need one of these...you probably shouldn't be driving.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @eulerckt
        While an accident is not something I look forward to .... I sure can use all the help I can to avoid one...
      davecalguy
      • 4 Years Ago
      That guy Bradley is a bunghole and should geta shave............
      grawtown
      • 3 Years Ago
      If your to stupid to drive you shouldn't be driving!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @grawtown
        I'm not stupid grawtown!! But I have epilepesy I wonder if this would work for us stupid people!!
      capt725
      • 3 Years Ago
      saving us from soccer mom's...pretty good.
      Robert
      • 4 Years Ago
      my S550 has this greaT FEATURE
      • 4 Years Ago
      Infinity was using this a few years ago. It was on their cruise control feature.
      • 3 Years Ago
      'City Safety' is standard equipment on the Volvo XC60.
      Don
      • 4 Years Ago
      My 2005 Lexus 430 has just such a system, but it only functions when the cruise control is on and set. I have determined that by setting this system at 25 MPH it will follow my up to high speed and back. Sadly, it drops off at about 20 MPH. Anyone know how to modify it?
      alfredschrader
      • 3 Years Ago
      I invented an air bag that deploys from the bumpers...protects the car, rear passengers, and the cargo...Al-
      boogahbear629
      • 3 Years Ago
      how bout people just pay attention while driving,getting off the cell phone and stop texting. and turn signals are there for a reason....use em! the lever aint just there to make the steering wheel look pretty.
        tony
        • 3 Years Ago
        @boogahbear629
        Thou always uses the turn signals, but only when they are needed. When a car is entering the interstate from the on ramp, then there is NO reason to use the signal, because where ELSE is thou going to go but onto the interstate. No need to use a signal when turning if no 1 is behind thou. The use of the rear view mirror is 99.4662 % more important then signals, yet I have seen people use signals and not look behind them, they seem to think that using signals excuses them from being aware of & paying attention to what is around them. O & davey, get a smile, fix that hair, & stop looking down on you`re readers. Try using a reel pic too.
      J.J.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Will they need a sticker? 'WARNING THIS CAR STOPS AJTOMATICALLY'
      eulerckt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another baby sitter for Public Transportation Poster Children.
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