Volvo pledges zero-fatality cars by 2020

Volvo pledges zero-fatality cars by 2020

Reports say that top Volvo brass have pledged to make all their cars zero fatality vehicles by the year 2020.

According to CNN Money, Volvo execs say that “by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.” Though the article does not provide a direct quote, the bold claim is repeated several times throughout and in a CNN-produced video. There is one quote form Volvo North America CEO Lex Kerssemakers, who says “[Swedish engineers] don’t say things when they don’t believe in it,” presumably in reference to the death-proof cars.

The promise builds on several technologies, many of them already existing. The first pillar relies on making the vehicles as safe as possible in the event of a crash. This entails improving technologies such as airbags and energy-dissipating body structures.

The second pillar is the development of safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control, auto lane keeping, impending collision braking assistance, traffic sign reading, and pedestrian and large animal detection.

Lastly, the introduction of completely autonomous driving technology will allow cars to fully drive themselves. “With the development of full autonomy we are going to push the limits of automotive safety,” said Volvo’s Erik Coelingh, a safety engineer. “Because if you make a fully autonomous vehicle you have to think through everything that potentially can happen with a car.”

Of course, all of these technologies are already either in use or being developed by Volvo and many other automakers on the market. At the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the a zero-crash car is a goal, but Volvo is the first to make such a no-death promise with a date.

The Volvo XC90 already received the best overall safety rating from the Euro NCAP, with a 100 percent for safety assist technology and a 97 percent in adult occupant protection. The XC90 is also one of nine models to have suffered zero fatalities in crashes from 2009-12. The others are the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorrento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 AWD, Mercedes GL-Class 4WD, Audi A4 4WD, Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequoia 4WD, and the Subaru Legacy.