Keeping drivers and pedestrians safe behind the wheel, once little more than an afterthought, has become a major focus of the automotive industry and governmental regulation in recent years. To help reach new heights of safety, engineers are applying the computers and advanced technology in ways that might have seemed fictional just a few years ago. Volvo's new collision avoidance system, called Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, is due to debut on the 2010 S60, and is a prime example.
Designed around the idea of preventing collisions with pedestrians, the Volvo system recognizes people near the car and brakes appropriately to avoid coming into contact with them. But it's far from a "dumb" system--it tracks and anticipates the paths of pedestrians, and reacts accordingly. Volvo says it can completely avoid any collision below 15 mph.
That's a pretty important advancement. While cars like Mercedes-Benz's S-Class and BMW's 7-series have had infrared pedestrian detection and warning systems for some time now, they haven't yet ventured into the realm of active collision avoidance.
This isn't something that could be used to completely eliminate crashes on the interstate or for other fast-moving traffic, but it can serve to mitigate the effects of such crashes by slowing the car before impact.
The system is demonstrated, and explained, in the video below, as applied on the streets of Copenhagen behind the wheel of a prototype S60. The end goal of Volvo's ongoing work in this field is to build a car that cannot crash. Minority Report here we come.
The 2010 Volvo S60 isn't due for release until next year, though the car's concept form is expected to very closely predict the production car's design.