Cars are (necessarily) safer. For Volvo this has become an image problem

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For decades, Volvo has been seen as one of the more secure signatures of the automotive sector. The image that they have carved for themselves is not by chance, in fact, it was the first manufacturer to incorporate three-point belts and even released its patent so that other firms could do the same.


Over time, the fame has not been diluted. How do they count in motorpassionthe Volvo XC90 was a benchmark for safety in the United Kingdom and it was even stated that for 16 years no one had died inside it due to an accident.

Over time, the systems have been perfected and the five Euro NCAP stars, which were previously an exception, have now become the norm, despite the fact that the exams are tougher and include a greater number of variables. In the eyes of the consumer, get five stars it is no longer worthy of praise, it is something that begins to be taken for granted.

Legislative obligations must be added to these advances. As of this year, Europe requires the inclusion of a good number of ADAS driving aids and safety systems in all approved cars on our continent. Some requirements that have a direct impact on Volvo: where is its added value now?

remain differential

Although the consumer safety requirements have been increasing over time and have led more and more brands to increase their provision in active safety, Volvo has managed to maintain standards that, in the eyes of consumers, positioned it above the rest.

This being its main added value, the obligation that all cars have to have great safety equipment as standard is a problem for its brand image, if we look only at what makes it a differential signature. To continue projecting this message, the brand has resorted to other initiatives such as, for example, limiting the maximum speed of its vehicles as a rule from 2020, although it will continue to be 180 km/h.

To continue being a reference in this field, Volvo has announced that its next electric SUV, which will arrive under the name of EX90, will have eight cameras, five radars, 16 ultrasonic sensors and a lidar sensor last generation. A security endowment that aims to improve pedestrian detection and that, according to the brand, is capable of differentiating a black tire from 120 meters away, traveling at highway speeds.

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The installation of LiDAR sensors in cars is something that has been working on for some time, but most manufacturers have chosen not to include this system due to its high cost. In fact, the data shows that the combination of radar and camera for pedestrian detection works best, although its use is not decisive.

In addition to the use of radars and/or cameras in vehicles, companies need to do a lot of development work in software and artificial intelligence to avoid accidents. Tesla, for example, has bet everything on cameras, despite the fact that its semi-autonomous driving systems are constantly in question in the United States.

Braking detection tests

The Volvo XC40 already works with a radar/camera combo and yet it was getting worst results in some situations than vehicles that only acted with cameras in an interesting study carried out by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for its acronym in English) in the United States. The upper graph shows the effectiveness of pedestrian detection systems with the poor results of the Swedish SUV when the light goes out.

The LiDAR sensor should reverse this situation and ensure that the results improve significantly. In fact, the brand ensures that its future SUV will be capable of detect a pedestrian at 260 meters of distance traveling at high speed. And to this will be added that the monitoring of the driver’s attention will be able to discern if he is distracted, asleep or even under the influence of alcohol, which will allow the car to stop by itself in a safe place if necessary.

For decades, Volvo has been seen as one of the more secure signatures of the automotive sector. The image that…

For decades, Volvo has been seen as one of the more secure signatures of the automotive sector. The image that…

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