Luxury automaker Volvo claims its system is the first in the world that can automatically apply a car’s brakes when sensors detect a cyclist. Rather fittingly called the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection system, though a real breakthrough in reducing the risk of accidentally hitting a cyclist — Volvo claims 50 percent of all cyclists killed in European traffic have collided with a car — the feature is at heart the latest iteration of a technology the company has been developing and deploying in its vehicles since 2006.
This latest version, demonstrated by Volvo this week, can automatically detect if a cyclist swerves out in front of a car or if a pedestrian unexpectedly steps into its path and will automatically engage the brakes in order to avoid or lessen a collision.
“As the leader in automotive safety, we have been first in the industry with all detection and auto brake technologies, from the first-generation brake support in 2006 to pedestrian detection with full auto brake in 2010,” says Doug Speck, senior vice president, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group.
The system pairs a front-grille-mounted radar with a camera located directly in front of the car’s rear-view mirror. The radar detects objects in the vehicle’s path and their relative distance while the camera identifies what these objects are. Working together, they determine what course of action to take. The system is designed to react to a cyclist or another car moving in the same or in the opposite direction as the vehicle that suddenly swerves or moves into the vehicle’s path.
“Our solutions for avoiding collisions with unprotected road users are unique in the industry. By covering more and more objects and situations, we reinforce our world-leading position within automotive safety. We keep moving towards our long-term vision to design cars that do not crash,” said Speck.
The system will be available in the Volvo V40, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 models from mid-May in 2013.