Volvo unveils cyclists’ detector system

12.00 | 11 March 2013 | | 5 comments

Volvo has developed a detection facility which “should prevent fatal accidents” among cyclists (BBC News).

Volvo says that a vehicle fitted with the system will be able to detect threats such as a cyclist suddenly swerving out into its path. The Chinese-owned company unveiled the feature at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show (7-17 March).

If a collision risk is detected an alarm sounds and the car’s brakes fully deployed.

The technology is an enhanced version of Volvo’s pedestrian detection system which was launched in 2010. Like the earlier release, the innovation uses a radar in the car’s grille and a camera located between its windscreen and back view mirror to detect collision threats.

A Volvo Car UK spokesman told the BBC that the firm’s engineers are now working on a new version as part of its 2020 programme which would also detect animals.

Volvo is also about to release its first car fitted with an airbag beneath the bonnet which will inflate if sensors in the front bumper detect contact with a cyclist or pedestrian. The airbag covers approximately a third of the windscreen and is designed to minimise injury to the victim’s head.

While appreciating Volvo’s efforts, British Cycling said that the solution only addresses part of the problem.

A spokeswoman said: “While we obviously welcome any safety measures that can be built into vehicles, people shouldn’t be relying on technology to keep them and other road users safe.

“What would make much more of a difference is making cyclist awareness a mandatory part of the driving test. British Cycling will continue to campaign for this as well as the establishment of a prominent, national cyclist awareness campaign similar to that we’ve seen for motorcyclists.”

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    Oh dear oh dear. Brakes fully deployed in response to a radar blip. Or a false alarm or electronic failure. Quite mad. The air bag under the bonnet might well reduce pedestrian injuries but what about occupants when the driver is blinded by the air bag because a fox or pheasant has been hit by the front bumper or a something that fell from a lorry or an wayward football?

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Try putting intelligent drivers who can see properly, instead of compensating for poor drivers with technology.

    Peter Clayton. England
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    Very clever I’m sure, but if Volvo and other car manufacturers are so concerned about safety to come up with these innovations in their cars, why, at the same time, are the very same vehicles capable of speeds and acceleration times way beyond what is necessary for normal motoring? They seem to want their cake and eat it.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Whilst there are many positive aspects to this technology, it worries me that some drivers will think that the system means that they do not have to worry about cyclists and how they ought to be reacting to them. Whilst the system applies the brakes to avoid a collision, would it not have been better for an alert driver to have seen the cyclist at an early stage, anticipated the need for more room to be given, and then either steered on an appropriate course to safely pass, or to adjust speed to remain behind the rider until safe to pass?

    As Dave from Leeds says, I too hope the following driver either has a Volvo with its City Safety system, or is very much on the ball.

    David, Suffolk.
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    Will it work on deer too? Nice to see some technology being used to enhance safety rather than just give drivers something else to distract themselves with. Have to hope the driver behind manages to avoid a shunt if the car does an emergency stop though.

    Dave, Leeds
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