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Volvo wins with BusinessCar

25 August 2010

Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection, with Full Auto Brake technology, has won the Car Safety category at the annual BusinessCar Techies awards.

This world-first technology can detect pedestrians in front of the car, warn if anyone walks out into its path and then automatically activate the car’s full braking power if the driver fails to respond in time.

It consists of a newly developed radar unit integrated into the car’s grille, a camera fitted in front of the interior rear-view mirror, and a central control unit. The radar detects any object in front of the car and determines the distance to it, while the camera determines what type of object it is.

In an emergency situation, the driver initially receives an audible warning combined with a flashing light in the windscreen’s head-up display, resembling a brake light. At the same time, the car’s brakes are pre-charged. If the driver does not react to the warning and an accident is deemed as imminent, full braking power is automatically applied to bring the car to a stop.

Half of all pedestrian accidents occur at speeds below 15 mph. Volvo says this technology can avoid a collision with a pedestrian at speeds up to 21 mph if the driver does not react in time. At higher speeds, the focus is on reducing the car’s speed as much as possible prior to the impact.

A lower speed of impact means that the risk of serious injury is significantly reduced. For instance, if speed is cut from 31 mph to 15 mph, Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake is expected to reduce the fatality risk as much as 20 per cent and, in some cases, up to 85 per cent.