Pretty much everyone associates Volvo with safety, a position that was carved out back in 1944 when the company created the Safety Cage. The Safety Cage was designed to protect the occupants of the vehicle at a time where driver and occupant safety was of little concern to most car manufacturers and buyers. Over the years Volvo has continued to enhance the safety of its vehicles, while also helping make safety a key concern for both consumers and other manufacturers. Features like crumple zones and side impact protection are common place now, but back in 1966 and 1991 respectively, they were revolutionary.
Now Volvo is moving the safety game on again by making its City Safety system a standard feature on the XC60. But what is City Safety? Well, according to Volvo 75 per cent of reported accidents occur at speed up to 19mph – in other words in slow moving traffic. You know how it is, you’re sitting in traffic, it moves, you move, it stops, you, err, don’t! In fact I know first hand exactly what Volvo is talking about, after finding myself rear ended while sitting in traffic on the A40. There I was, completely stationary, when BANG, a Mercedes CLK drove into the back of me, and then BANG, as he did it a second time. And what was the excuse from the other driver? “I was looking out of the window and didn’t realise that you’d stopped” – he hit me the second time because he panicked after hitting me the first time!
City Safety will ensure that issues like my unfortunate incident above never happen. Put simply, City Safety takes human error out of the equation and ensures that no matter how distracted the driver may be, he/she won’t trundle mindlessly into the car in front. Basically, if the driver “forgets” to brake when travelling at low speed towards a stationary object, the XC60 will brake by itself, thus avoiding an accident.
”’(centre)The laser sensor mounted in the windscreen measures distance in front of the car.(/centre)”’
The key to City Safety is a laser sensor that’s mounted at the top of the windscreen, behind the rear view mirror. The sensor scans approximately six metres in front of the vehicle, looking out for stationary traffic or obstructions. The laser sensor feeds back information to the City Safety system, which then calculates exactly how much brake force is needed to bring the XC60 to a safe stop, without causing an accident.