Volume 15, Issue 5- September/October 2013

off the line
Volvo Car Group Introduces
New Technology

Volvo Car Group recently revealed a number of user-friendly safety and support technologies that will be introduced in the all-new Volvo XC90 at the end of 2014.

“We are introducing the first Volvos with autonomous steering to avoid accidents and make driving more comfortable,” says Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor at Volvo Car Group.

The new technologies include:
• Pedestrian detection in darkness. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
• Road edge and barrier detection with steer assist. A feature that detects if the car is about to drive off the road and autonomously applies steering torque to bring the vehicle back on track.
• Adaptive cruise control with steering assist. A technology that helps the driver stay in the lane and follow the rhythm of the traffic. The new system automatically follows the vehicle ahead.
• Collision mitigation for animals. The vehicle can brake automatically for animals both in daylight and in the dark. The technology, which is designed to help the driver avoid accidents or reduce the speed of impact, will be introduced some time after the all-new XC90 arrives by the end of 2014.
“When the first XC90 was introduced in 2002, it featured a number of groundbreaking safety features, including a world-first solution that helps prevent rollovers. By revealing a number of systems for the next generation XC90 we once again confirm our leadership in automotive safety,” says Broberg.

Heads-up Display Avoids Driver Distraction
One of the keys to bringing in-cabin electronics systems to life is to avoid causing more distraction, according to Pallab Chatterjee, a blogger for Edmunds.com.

“The use of heads-up displays is now becoming an OEM option for some cars, and has entered the aftermarket accessory space,” says Chatterjee. “The primary content that is being displayed is driven by the instrumentation that is reporting from the OBD-II systems. Using this as the content source, speed, RPM, fluid levels, engine parameters, and driver’s system status can be displayed either individually or under ‘virtual instrument panels’ that are projected on the front windshield.

“This projected area for the display allows the driver to keep an eye on the road, increasing their forward attention from the traditional 33-percent forward-view duty cycle,” Chatterjee adds. “The traditional driving experience has the driver’s forward view shared with looking at the dashboard meters, the side mirrors and the rearview mirror.”

Automakers and aftermarket suppliers appear to be cautious and are not including infotainment content in the display. They are focusing, instead, on driver’s information and driver’s assist details, along with first-generation dashboard data.

“As display technology improves in resolution and brightness, as well as area, there will be more content types shown on the windshield,” Chatterjee says.

He also notes that the aftermarket is working on releasing second generation products with more video/animated content.

“The next step being looked at is the mirroring of the displays from the console or an in-vehicle mobile device. Care just needs to be taken to make sure that display objects that distract from safe vehicle operation do not make it to the windshield,” Chatterjee adds.
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