GOTHENBURG, Sweden — A study by two major Swedish insurance groups has found a substantial reduction damage and injury claims from low-speed front- and rear-end collisions involving Volvo vehicles equipped with the company's City Safety crash mitigation system.
City Safety uses infrared sensors to monitor the distance between vehicles and can institute automatic emergency braking if the distance closes too quickly and the driver doesn't apply the brakes. It was introduced in 2006 and made standard on all Volvos in 2008.
In some instances the system can bring the car to a full stop, avoiding a collision. In others — when the relative speed between vehicles exceeds 10 mph — it can slow the car to substantially reduce collision impact and damage.
The study of Swedish accident reports covering 160,000 "vehicle years" of operation found that the so-called auto-braking system, a cornerstone of future autonomous driving systems, has real value in reducing the incidence of whiplash and other neck-related injuries caused by low-speed accidents, says Volvo.
Insurance claims involving City Safety-equipped Volvos dropped 28 percent since the system was introduced, the study found.
"We see our continuous development of collision avoidance and steering assist systems as stepping stones towards autonomous cars" and "believe that collision avoidance systems will be an enabler for cars that do not crash," says Magdalena Lindman, a traffic safety data analyst at Volvo Cars.
Initially designed to work only at speeds of less than 19 mph, the City Safety system's effectiveness was boosted in 2013 to work at speeds of up to 31 mph. On the 2016 Volvo XC90 it works at all speeds and includes pedestrian and bicyclist detection and braking.
Volvo has said it intends to use the expanded system throughout its product line.
Edmunds says: Good news for Volvo owners and for people who make sudden stops with Volvos behind them! We applaud efforts to make our cars safer.