In 1959, Volvo gave us the seat belt—right here’s what its security workforce is constructing now


Enlarge / A beforehand crash-tested Volvo XC90.

Jonathan Gitlin

Although we make each effort to cowl our personal journey prices, on this case Volvo flew me to Gothenburg and supplied two nights in a resort.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden—Several years in the past, Volvo Cars introduced its “Vision 2020” plan. The aim was so simple as it was daring: by the 12 months 2020, nobody must be killed or significantly injured in a brand new Volvo.

As we get nearer to that date, Volvo has began to get extra particular about how, precisely, it plans to get there. First, there was the announcement earlier this month that, beginning with mannequin 12 months 2021, all new Volvos can be restricted to 112mph (180km/h). And final week, the corporate invited journalists from around the globe to go to its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, to study its different plans for this initiative.

As you might need anticipated throughout such a tour, Volvo was at pains to tell us precisely what number of security improvements the corporate has been liable for within the years because it launched the three-point security belt as customary in 1959. Side-impact safety buildings, facet airbags, whiplash-preventing seats, blind-spot monitoring, and many extra energetic and passive security programs all through the years have helped the corporate earn its present fame for security.

“Looking into the data, we’ve done a lot with passive and active safety, but to get to zero, you have to tackle human issues,” says Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. By this, he means the trio of distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and inappropriate pace. “Now we’re coming into a situation where we have a technical capability to do something about this. We can let the car intervene if the driver is behaving badly. For example, driving outside a school: is it really individual freedom to drive past it at 250km/h? Do we have the right to intervene, or do we have an obligation? We want to enter into a dialogue, we don’t have an answer, and we don’t want to be big brother, but Volvo can lead the discussion on safety.”

333 feedback

The speed-limiter announcement definitely sparked a dialogue—333 feedback and counting simply on our quick article alone. Although Samuelsson has stated it is value doing if it saves even a number of lives, he is open about the truth that the pace restrict was actually the corporate’s approach of throwing down a marker. “We are quite sure we need to send a signal of some kind to start this dialogue. But I think indirectly with that, you attract certain customers and probably discourage other customers, and I think we did this rather deliberately. We want to create a stronger and safer Volvo community. Now we’re opening up the discussions with insurance companies to see what benefits this would bring to Volvo customers. We want to attract people who want to drive safely. That would discourage the boy racers,” he stated.

However, do not count on future Volvos to have restricted acceleration to go along with their new, decrease prime pace. “If you were to have some kind of emotional value of a powerful car, you feel that with acceleration, but you very seldom feel that with speed. And you could argue that, in some cases, it means safety—if you could complete an overtaking maneuver quickly for example. So we have no plans to limit acceleration, and with electric cars it will go in the other direction. There will be tremendous acceleration with electric cars, but they will never be very fast, because you empty the batteries too quickly.”

Listing picture by Jonathan Gitlin

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