As characteristic for a Volvo, the new XC90 will come with a number of world-first safety features, the first being an automatic braking function at junctions if the car senses the driver is about to turn into an oncoming car. The company says such incidents are common at busy city intersections and on highways where speeds are higher, and that such a feature can avoid possible collisions or mitigate the severity of such a crash.
Another innovation is Safe Positioning which protects the occupants in cases where the car runs off the road due to fatigue, driver distraction and poor weather conditions. The front seat belts tighten up to keep occupants in position, and energy-absorbing functionality in the seats cuts vertical forces acting on the occupants when the car lands hard onto the terrain by up to a third, reducing spinal injuries.
The new XC90 also adds a number of features to existing systems, including a rear pre-crash protection system. Rear radars detect is a rear collision is imminent and the seat belts are tightened, lights flash to warn the driver behind and the brakes are activated to reduce the impact on occupants. Seat belt pre-tensioners are now installed on all seven seats.
In addition, the new seven-seater SUV is stronger than before – while high-strength boron steel (said to be the strongest type of steel used in the car body industry) was used in the construction of the original XC90, its successor ups the amount used to around 40% of the car’s body weight. This is approximately five times more than before.
“Committing to safety is not about passing a test or getting a ranking,” says Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist of safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “It is about finding out how and why accidents and injuries occur and then developing the technology to prevent them. We lead, the industry follows.”
According to Volvo, the new XC90 moves the company closer to its goal of reducing the number of fatalities or injuries in its cars to zero by the year 2020. We’ll learn more about the new car when it is unveiled in full next month.