Volvo debuts new way to save cyclists' lives
In 2011, Volvo showed a sensor and automatic braking system the company said would help save pedestrians lives.
That technology has been enhanced with what Volvo says is more rapid 'vision processing' so that cyclists can be covered with the system, which consists of a radar sensor in a car's grill, a tiny camera near the rearview mirror, a software controller, and auto-braking. The system is supposed to spot and then track pedestrians and cyclists in a car's vision area. If one of the tracked bikers veers suddenly in front of the Volvo, a red warning bar appears in the driver's windshield, and automatic detection slams on the brakes.
Though Volvo doesn't explicitly say so in press materials, the technology works best on slower-moving city streets, where cyclists and cars are moving at speeds of 20 mph and below, because it gives the car time to actually stop before hitting the bicycle rider or person walking.
The technology also helps employ autobraking if cars in front of the Volvo stops or veers suddenly.
Volvo also previously announced an airbag outside the car that could help save pedestrians or cyclists from crashing into a Volvo windshield, signaling that the company is serious about people safety. And Volvo is additionally the company working on driverless driving. Some of this safety focus is likely in part due to the fact that though this originally Swedish company is now owned by Chinese investors, Sweden's government has a zero-fatalities goal for its streets and highways.
The cyclist and pedestrian autobraking technologies will be available in seven Volvo models starting this May 2013.