Cyclists Rejoice: Volvo Presents Cyclist Detection System

Sections: Car Safety

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Volvo Cyclist Detection press release photo

Your new Volvo could automatically apply full brakes when a cyclist darts out in front of the car unexpectedly. (Photo courtesy Volvo Cars of Canada.)

As someone who has had a few scary moments in the saddle of a bicycle ridden on public streets, I can get behind news that Volvo’s Cyclist Detection System debuted in Geneva this week.

According to a Volvo press release, the system ” detects and automatically brakes for cyclists swerving out in front of the car.”

Volvo said the technology is an outgrowth of its existing automatic braking and detection features that will automatically apply the brakes when, for example, the car senses an imminent low-speed bump or possible pedestrian collision.

For the full explanation, we turn it over to Volvo’s presser:

Counteracts accidents

According to accident data, about 50 per cent of all cyclists killed in European traffic have collided with a car – a number that is counteracted by Volvo Cars’ new Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology. New advanced software,including more rapid vision processing, has made it possible to extend the present detection and auto brake technology to cover also certain cyclist situations.

“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,” said Doug Speck.

Automatic braking

A cyclist in the same lane swerving out in front of the car is one incident type that is addressed by the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake, which will be available in the Volvo V40,S60,V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 models from mid-May in 2013.

The advanced sensor system scans the area ahead. If a cyclist heading in the same direction as the car suddenly swerves out in front of the car as it approaches from behind and a collision is imminent, there is an instant warning and full braking power is applied.

The car’s speed has considerable importance for the outcome of an accident. A lower speed of impact means that the risk of serious injury is significantly reduced.

Combining camera and radar

Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake consists of a radar unit integrated into the car’s grille, a camera fitted in front of the interior rear-view mirror and a central control unit. The radar’s task is to detect objects in front of the car and to determine the distance to them. The camera determines the type of the objects. Thanks to the dual-mode radar’s wide field of vision, pedestrians and cyclists can be detected early on. The high-resolution camera makes it possible to spot the moving pattern of pedestrians and cyclists. The central control unit continuously monitors and evaluates the traffic situation.

The auto brake system requires both the radar and the camera to confirm the object. With the advanced sensor technology, it is then possible to apply full braking power immediately when necessary. The technology also covers vehicles driving in the same lane.

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