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New Safety Feature Helps Cars Avoid Collisions With Cyclists

Apr 02, 2013 ARTICLE SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2013/03/08/new-safety-feature-helps-cars-avoid-collisions-with-cyclists/

The latest auto safety technology to come from Volvo is designed not to protect a car’s passengers, but those who reside outside the vehicle – both on foot and on two wheels.

Announced at the Geneva Motor Show, the new Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake system expands upon the automaker’s current pedestrian detection technology and takes the industry one step closer to creating a car that drives itself. This type of system is especially important in Europe’s crowded urban streets, where half of all bicyclist fatalities result from riders being struck by passenger cars.

The technology uses both a radar unit in a car’s front grille and a high-definition camera that’s forward-mounted on the rearview mirror to scan the area ahead on a continuous basis. The system will not only sound an alert if a pedestrian steps into the vehicle’s path in city traffic or if a bicyclist suddenly darts out in front of the vehicle as it approaches from behind, but will apply the brakes at full force if it determines a collision is otherwise imminent.

“Our solutions for avoiding collisions with unprotected road users are unique in the industry. By covering more and more objects and situations, we reinforce our world-leading position within automotive safety. We keep moving towards our long-term vision to design cars that do not crash,” says Volvo senior vice-president Doug Speck.

The system will be available in seven Volvo models in Europe – including the V40, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 – beginning in mid-May, with availability in the U.S. likely to follow.

No word yet on what the system might cost, but the current pedestrian detection system is typically bundled with other like-minded high-tech features. On the 2013 Volvo X60 crossover it’s included with forward collision and lane departure warning systems, active high beam headlamps and adaptive cruise control in a $2,100 Technology Package.

Here’s a video of the system at work:


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