Fatality-Free Cars?

Volvo is making waves with it's most recent corporate initiative. According to the carmaker's Vision 2020 program, by 2020, "nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo." According to Computer World, Volvo and other automakers are hoping a confluence of technology will make cars safer and potentially fatality-free, Computer World reports. At the base of this initiative is existing sensor technologies, such as sensors that allow cars to park themselves or that indicate when a door has been left ajar or when a passenger has failed to fasten their seatbelt. Extending this to the driving experience itself, Volvo plans to test road train technology, which will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from other cars. Some of the technology already exists, such as sensing capabilities that let cars park themselves. As part of its Vision 2020 program, Volvo will start testing "road trains" early next year, in which cars will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from each other. Additional safety systems might include pedestrian sensors which would measure the distance and trajectory of moving objects; therefore, if a person were to step in front of a car, the car might warn the driver and apply an auto-breaking system if the driver is too slow to react to the warning. Volvo says that such a system would prevent a pedestrian collision at speeds up to 20 mph and at higher speeds, the car's velocity would be significantly reduced.

Computer World reports that making cars truly fatality-free involves a new technological infrastructure that can support advanced crash-testing, as well as car-to-car communication. It's not surprising that Volvo is leading this initiative to make cars that much safer.