Collision Investigations Lead to Enhanced Safety Features

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Collisions happen when you least expect them. The resultant effects could come in different forms – they could come as light as bruises and limps or as grave as death. To improve safety factors of its lineup, Volvo went to collision scenes to investigate and eventually formulate solutions to avoid ‘preventable’ accidents. So far, the Volvo Traffic Accident Research Team has analyzed more than 32,000 accidents.

“The side impact took place at a high speed which gave us the opportunity to study how well our protective systems functioned.” said Thomas Broberg who works as the deputy head of the Volvo Cars Safety Center. “This kind of research is a vital link in our drive to build safer cars.” John-Fredrik Grönvall, manager of Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team, added, “In reality, every crash is different and there are millions of crash scenarios. Volvo’s in-depth studies allow us to see how our systems work in real life. We can reconstruct the accident and repeat it in the controlled environment of our laboratory.”

The inception of the accident research team of the automaker could be reckoned in early 1960’s when the automaker decided to study on injury-reducing effects of the three-point safety belt. Said auto accessory was introduced in 1959. Today, the seat belt is used by all manufacturers throughout Europe and North America.

The study found that safety belts reduced injuries by 50 per cent. Aside from that, the automaker also yielded valuable information regarding shaping future safety systems. It was in 1970 when the Swedish automaker established the industry’s first in-house crash research team. The team investigates the most serious collisions on the roads involving a Volvo. It conducts interviews and takes photographs and measurements to delve deeper into collision details. The vehicle involved is transported to Volvo’s Safety Center for further examination. In addition, the team requests medical information to link to the collision.

“In these in-depth studies we are looking at the quality of the data,” said Ingrid Skogsmo, Volvo Cars safety director. “These investigations allow us to understand the surroundings, how the car performed how the systems worked, and why injuries may have occurred.”

According to the team, the in-depth investigation leads to improved Volvo safety features like Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), introduced in 1999, and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent research organization in the United States, the latter reduced injuries by over 50 percent.

Grönvall believes that recent innovations like the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which warns the driver of other vehicles in its blind spot, and Active Cruise Control (ACC), which monitors the distance to the vehicle in front and adjusts speed to maintain a set distance, are only the beginning. “The real-life accidents we study are completely different from anything that can be performed in the development of a car,” Grönvall added. “We will continue to use those results to increase the level of safety in each new generation of Volvo vehicles.”

Recent safety features from the automaker include the CWBS (Collision Warning with Brake Support), which preempts probable collision and primes the brakes; and the PAC (Park Assist Camera). These features are blended with the Volvo brake hose and other auto parts to maximize braking functions and efficiency.

Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the Motor City and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.

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