Volvo has built its reputation on safety, setting itself the lofty goal of having no-one killed or seriously injured in one of its cars by 2020. The next step towards that goal is a trio of semi-autonomous safety features set to debut in the upcoming XC60. Not only will it help you steer around obstacles, it'll stop you from drifting or merging into oncoming traffic.
Auto-emergency braking is nothing new, but systems able to actively steer a car out of trouble are still rare. Mercedes says the E-Class will apply torque to the steering wheel when the driver is swerving, helping them get around an obstacle in an emergency, but the system is still reliant on the driver to make the first input.
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The new XC60 will have a similar system, which works with the auto-emergency braking system to avoid accidents between 50 and 100 km/h (31 and 62 mph) by helping the driver steer around an upcoming obstacle. It's able to detect pedestrians, cars and animals, so there's no real excuse for having a low-speed accident.
"We have been working with collision avoidance systems for many years and we can see how effective they are," says Malin Ekholm, Senior Director at Volvo Safety Center. "In Sweden alone we have seen a decline of around 45 percent in rear-end frontal crashes thanks to our collision warning with auto brake system. With the XC60 we are determined to take the next step in reducing avoidable collisions with the addition of steering support and assistance systems."
On top of the smarter auto-emergency braking (and steering), the XC60 will come with a new system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation, designed to help drivers avoid crashing into oncoming traffic. Active between 60 and 140 km/h (37 and 87 mph), it warns drivers if they wander into oncoming traffic and, if they don't react, steer the car back into its lane. Think of it like a smarter, more active lane-keeping assistance system.
The final debut is an update to the blind-spot warning system, which will now steer the car away from a lane-change accident rather than just flashing a light at the driver. Along with these systems, the car will be available with the large-animal avoidance, run-off road and city safe systems from the XC90 and S90.
The new XC60 will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, which kicks off next week.