Volvo's buses will automatically blare pedestrians that come too close

The technology will be fitted to all urban city buses from 2017

Volvo goes to some effort to protect the safety of not just passengers inside its vehicles, but pedestrians, cyclists, moose and kangaroos on the outside, too. Now the Swedish auto-manufacturer is fitting its detection tech to its fleet of buses, which will begin automatically sounding warnings to alert unprotected road users of potential collisions.

Dubbed the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System, the technology relies on a camera to scan the bus' surroundings and then an image-processing system and algorithms to detect pedestrians and cyclists. If the danger is low, the bus emits a sound in a frequency designed to cause minimal disruption. But if there is a real and immediate risk of an accident, the horn is automatically activated. On the inside, meanwhile, sound and light signals are used to alert the driver of the danger.

Volvo tells us that this is the partly the same pedestrian-detecting technology used in its other vehicles, although adapted for buses and without the capacity to apply the brakes automatically. The system is also a way of addressing the quieter nature of electric vehicles and the inherent danger that creates for pedestrians in busy urban environments.

The system will first be fired up in field tests along route 55 in Gothenburg, Sweden, the same stretch of road where the company rolled out its first fully electric buses last year. Volvo tells New Atlas that the technology will be fitted to all urban city buses in Europe from 2017.

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