The Volvo Safety Car's influence is still felt around the automotive industry today. 10 years after the concept's launch, many of the previously groundbreaking features are considered standard today.
Volvo's visionary Safety Concept Car (SCC) is credited with developing many of the technological advances we see today in cars. Features that are both easily noticeable and unnoticeable were equipped on the car that was essentially the predecessor to the Volvo C30. Debuting at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show, the former concept car of the year winner has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Staying true to its name in every sense of the word, the impressive concept featured many different safety features and advanced technical solutions.
15 of those groundbreaking features have found their way onto current Volvo models. Several standard features on cars nowadays across all platforms and companies owe their development to the Swedish automaker. They include a blind spot information system, mobile app that allows drivers to speak on the phone through the car, active bending lights, safety cameras and collision warning systems, lane departure and driver warning, emergency brake lights and even an adjustable rear seat which is present in integrated two-stage child booster cushions.
"Concept vehicles are usually design or technology studies that give car buyers a taste of the future... (The SCC) is an early example of how we design our cars around our customers' wishes, needs and limitations," said Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby. The SCC didn't want to just protect people in accidents; they wanted to prevent them from happening in the first place. They used a series of warnings and controls to help reduce the risk of possible accidents. Another holdover from the SCC is that the Volvo C30 takes many of its current features from the iconic car. The tall A-pillar shows the influence perfectly.
To sum up the SCC and what a visionary and advanced car for its time, the words of SCC engineer Mikael Edvardsson sums it up best, "When the Volvo SCC was unveiled, it was packed with sensational technology. Bearing in mind the interest of the car-buying public in active safety systems today, it's easy to see that the concept car was way ahead of its time. It's evidence that Volvo is and will remain at the cutting edge when it comes to automotive safety."