A study released today shows that Volvo’s crash avoidance system called City Safety prevents about one quarter of common low-speed car accidents. The feature has been standard in XC60 mid-size SUVs since the 2010 model year and is also standard on 2011-12 S60 sedans, 2012 model S80 sedans, and XC70 wagons.
The study, by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), found that Volvo XC60 mid-size SUVs having this advanced forward collision avoidance system — the first of its kind– are much less likely to have low-speed collisions than similar vehicles without that feature. Volvo designed City Safety expressly to help drivers avoid rear-ending the vehicles in front of them, in heavy traffic, at slow speeds.
After analyzing insurance claims, researchers found that drivers filed property damage liability claims (which covers damage to vehicles hit by an at-fault driver) 27% less often for Volvo’s XC60 model than for other mid-size luxury SUVs. The XC60 is Volvo’s bestselling SUV, and U.S. sales of the model increased by 40% this year, numbering 7,474 through June.
As HLDI reports,
‘This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,’ says Adrian Lund, president of HLDI.
‘That’s great news for consumers. As people grow more aware of the risks of distracted driving, crash avoidance systems like this one can help to ensure that a momentary lapse of attention during a congested commute doesn’t result in a crash.’
Unlike forward-collision warning systems designed to address higher-speed accidents, City Safety does not alert the driver before it engages, but automatically brakes at the last instant if the driver doesn’t react in time.
It uses an infrared laser sensor built into the windshield to monitor the area in front of the SUV when traveling at speeds of about 2 to 19 mph. It detects and reacts to other vehicles within 18 feet of the XC60’s front bumper during both daytime and nighttime driving. If the speed difference between vehicles is less than 9 mph, City Safety helps drivers avoid some crashes altogether. If the difference is between 9 and 19 mph, the feature may not prevent the crash but will reduce the consequences. It’s not designed to work at speeds faster than 19 mph.
Volvo and other car companies also offer optional systems designed to help drivers avoid accidents at higher speeds than City Safety does, and as these technologies become more available, HLDI is working to evaluate them as well.