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Volvo's Latest Safety Obsession Is A Must-Have

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The aim is to improve an aspect of car safety you probably haven't considered.

Volvo has been testing several industry-first car safety systems lately. Recently, the automaker announced plans to limit the top speed of its new models to 110 MPH from 2020 and implement technology that can detect if a driver is drunk or drowsy. It's all part of the automaker's wider goal to make all its cars death proof by 2020. Now, the Swedish automaker wants to further protect cyclists in accidents involving cars and bikes.

Volvo has teamed up with POC, a leading Swedish sports and safety brand, to conduct a series of world-first crash tests of bike helmets against cars as part of a new research project that aims offer further protection to cyclists. Accidents between bikes and vehicles can often lead to serious injury or death, but Volvo wants to prevent these types of accidents completely with the help of active safety technologies.

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For example, Volvo's Cyclist detection with full auto brake uses the car's cameras and radars to detect cyclists, warn the driver of an imminent collision and apply the brakes if further action is needed. It is a development of Volvo Cars' automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection systems.

Volvo's latest research project consists of a number of specially designed crash tests at the famous Volvo Cars safety research facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden and is "part of a wider research project to understand the types of long-term injuries sustained by cyclists." During the tests, POC bike helmets are worn by crash dummy heads mounted on a testing rig and are launched towards different areas of the hood of a static Volvo car, at different speeds and angles for various measurements. The tests are based on existing regulatory test procedures for pedestrian head protection, allowing Volvo and POC to make a direct comparison between wearing a helmet and not wearing a helmet.

Volvo says that Current bike helmet testing procedures are too rudimentary, with helmets being dropped from different heights on either a flat or an angled surface and not taking vehicle to bike accidents into account. Volvo's research project, on the other hand, aims to further refine and advance such testing. These tests will help POC make its helmets safer and more protective in the event of a car-bike accident and "provide valuable insights and learnings for Volvo Cars into these types of accidents for future development."

"This project with POC is a good example of our pioneering spirit in safety," said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Center and one of the company's leading safety engineers. "We often develop new testing methods for challenging traffic scenarios. Our aim is not only to meet legal requirements or pass rating tests. Instead we go beyond ratings, using real traffic situations to develop technology that further improves safety."