Auto manufacturers often take great pains to ensure that in the event of a serious accident, the occupants of their vehicles remain safe. Volvo can be a considered a pioneer in this area. Now, it has extended its expertise in the art of making vehicles safe to the low-speed, urban arena with the introduction of its proprietary Volvo City Safety feature.
This in-house developed technology, which promises to prevent or lessen the severity of collisions at low speeds, thus reducing the risk of personal injuries and damage to vehicles, recently received the prestigious American ''Traffic Safety Achievement Award'' at the World Traffic Safety Symposium in New York.
This innovative product was competing against various other recent traffic-safety developments at this symposium organized at the New York International Auto show.
The panel of experts comprising traffic safety specialists from institutions such as the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), awarded the title to Volvo after its City Safety feature impressed them with its potential to reduce injuries and fatalities on the roads.
City Safety is yet another example of Volvo's aim to utilise real world traffic situations to develop solutions to prevent accidents," said Jonas Ekmark, head of preventive safety at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre,. '' It is extremely gratifying that we are now being acknowledged with this prestigious award''.
The usefulness of this feature can be gauged from the fact that it addresses the problem of low-speed collisions, which constitute a majority of car accidents around the world. In fact, as much as 75 per cent of all collisions are at speeds less than 30 km/h (18 mph), where in half the cases the driver doesn't brake at all.
For a car equipped with City Safety, sudden braking of a car in front will no longer be as perilous as before. If City Safety assesses that a collision is imminent, the brakes are prepared for action and activated automatically if the driver fails to act. At speeds less than 15 km/h (9 mph) City Safety can entirely avoid accidents, while at speeds between 17 - 30 km/h (10-18 mph) the system applies sufficient brake force to reduce vehicle speed and help reduce occupant injuries and vehicle damage.
Volvo's XC60 will be the first vehicle equipped with this system. Not only will it increase driver and passenger safety, it may also help in reducing the vehicle's cost of ownership. Volvo Cars is currently involved in negotiations with several insurance companies in Europe who are considering an insurance premium discount of up to 30 percent for cars equipped with City Safety.
Elmark said, ''Even with just reducing vehicle speed, this system will help to consequences of low speed impacts. The potential for reducing the risk of both personal injuries and car bodywork damage makes City Safety highly interesting from an insurance perspective.'' For future Volvo owners, it seems to be a win-win situation.