Volvo: By 2020, No One Will Die in Our Cars

Company makes bold pledge
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2016 6:15 AM CST
Volvo: Death-Proof Cars Coming by 2020
In this 2015 file photo, Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group, speaks in front of an XC90 at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Volvo has just come out with a gutsy move, making what CNN Money is calling a "shocking pledge"—that not a single person will be killed or even seriously injured in a new Volvo car or SUV by 2020. (Not including a driver who does something "really, really stupid," as CNN puts it.) Engineers already have some ground to stand on, given that not a single person has died in the Volvo XC90 over the past four years. And while it's in an elite squad, that model isn't alone—eight others claim the distinction. To reach its goal, Volvo (and other car makers working on similar safety features, including Ford and Tesla) is leaning heavily on autonomous technologies, reports Extreme Tech.

Some of the features are run-of-the-mill—think better air bags and restraints—while others are more advanced, including adaptive cruise control, pedestrian and large animal detection, sign reading, and an assist to keep the vehicle between lane lines. "Still, claiming something to be death-proof seems risky," notes the Extreme Tech post. "They said the Titanic was unsinkable, after all." Meanwhile, a review in Automobile Magazine calls the XC90 the "future of luxury transportation" with "crisp" handling and steering that provides "decent feedback." It also notes that Volvo is planning to test its latest autonomy technology on 30 miles of highway in Sweden next year, while the Obama administration recently announced a $4 billion pilot program to study the tech further. (Check out why GM and Lyft are partnering up.)

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