Volvo has packed the XC60 full of other safety features too. The Blind Spot Information System is a neat little gadget that warns the driver of cars that may be hiding in the XC60’s blind spot. BLIS uses tiny cameras mounted beneath the wing mirrors, which monitor traffic that’s coming alongside the car. Whenever there’s a car adjacent to the XC60 a small red LED will illuminate on either the right or left side of the cabin, to indicate that it’s not safe to change lanes. Of course any good driver should be checking thoroughly before changing lanes, but it doesn’t hurt to have a clear warning without having to look over your shoulder, or angle your view of the wing mirror.
The Driver Alert Control analyses footage from front mounted cameras to ascertain the level of control that the driver has over the car. DAC will look at the road ahead and compare how well or erratically the XC60 is following the line. If DAC deems the driver’s control to be less than confidence inspiring, it will give both visual and audible warnings, and encourage the driver to take a break, and perhaps ingest some caffeine (not that I ever need to be told about the latter).
Then there’s the Lane Departure Warning, which rewards you with an annoying beep whenever you cross the white lines in the road. Again this is meant to determine whether or not you’re in full control of the vehicle and therefore the warning will not sound if you indicate before changing lane. Of course if you fancy a spirited drive across some winding roads, you may want to switch LDW off, since it can get frustrating having it beep at you every time you make use of the whole road – when it’s safe to do so of course.
Talking of a spirited drive, the XC60 will even try to work out just how high your level of concentration needs to be while driving. The Intelligent Driver Information System will monitor the inputs from the driver – be that throttle control, steering, brake application etc. – and determine the level of “distraction” that the driver can deal with. Hence, if you happen to be negotiating a particularly tricky set of switchbacks through a gorge in France and an incoming mobile phone call is detected, the IDIS will not put that call through, having determined that you could not safely deal with the call and the demands of the road. Is that a bit “nanny state”? Perhaps, but having seen how peoples’ driving concentration drops as soon as they start talking on the phone, I’d say that it’s not a bad thing.