Volvo reveals autonomous future

27 Jun, 2013 12:33pm Luke Madden

Volvo has announced a range of new safety technologies which will be available on the new XC90

Volvo has given a glimpse in to its future, with six new technologies ranging from pedestrian detection in the dark through to a fully automated parking system.

Three of the technologies – one that monitors and steers away from road edges and barriers, one that spots pedestrians in the dark and one that can follow traffic autonomously – will be available on the next-generation Volvo XC90 due in 2014. An animal detection system is also being developed, which can hit the brakes in under 500ms, a human’s reaction time is apparently 1.2 seconds.

These safety systems are a part of Volvo’s commitment that no one will be killed or seriously injured in its cars by 2020. The firm has focused on the situations that cause most motoring fatalities and developed the technology accordingly.

While these systems will be available in less than a year, Volvo also showcased some more futuristic technologies such as Car-to-Car communications. During a brief drive fitted with the system, we were told how long we had until a traffic light turned green, what speed we should travel at to ensure the next set of lights would be green, if there was a broken down car hidden around a corner and if a police car was quickly coming up behind us.

The autonomous parking set-up allows users to simply step out of the car and tell it to find a parking space. A car fitted with the tech was able to dodge traffic, avoid children and reverse park itself in a free bay. We were told the technology requires changes to car park infrastructure, such as the ability to tell the car if there’s a free space anywhere, but it could be developed for road car use in 5-10 years.

The all-new XC90 is expected to be previewed by a concept car at the Paris Motor Show in 2014, before the production car is unveiled later that year.

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I have scary visions of deserted XC-90's wandering around city centres looking for parking spaces. Is this really a technology we need? people literally too lazy to remain sat on the their backside to park themselves?

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