Arguably the most remarkable technology on the new second-generation Volvo S60 is its optional pedestrian detection and automatic braking system.
The key to the system is Delphi Automotive LLP's Electronically Scanning Radar (ESR) that is integrated into the grille. The ESR scans for pedestrians and objects in the road as well as people who may step into the vehicle's path. The radar, which supports other safety systems such as the adaptive cruise control, was developed at Delphi's U.S. technical centers in Malibu, California, and Kokomo, Indiana, while Delphi Sweden was responsible for vehicle integration. The part is made in Singapore.
While the radar detects if objects are in front of the car and if so, how far away; images from a camera positioned in front of the rearview mirror help evaluate the type of obstruction ahead. The camera is supplied by Delphi, with Dutch firm Mobileye NV providing the technology to analyze the data.
The pedestrian detection and automatic braking system predicts whether a collision is imminent and, if so, sounds an alarm, flashes a light in the head-up display (sourced by Delphi and Hella KGaA Hueck & Co.) and prepares the brakes to make a hard stop. If the driver fails to stop the car, the system automatically engages the brakes. The technology helps prevent pedestrian collisions at speeds of up to 21 mph (34kph). At higher speeds, the collision will occur if the driver is unresponsive, but with less force, reducing the pedestrian's injuries. While the system makes an important contribution to pedestrian safety, it does not work in very poor visibility or at night.
Magna International Inc. provides an optional camera positioned in the front grille to assist in situations when visibility is obscured, such as when moving out of a garage. Because the camera has a 180-degree field of view, the output – displayed as two images on an interior screen – informs the driver what is to the left and right, enabling the vehicle to be moved forward without the risk of collision.
The S60's other important safety features include India suppliers Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which alerts drivers to vehicles in the rear blind spots on both sides of the car. SMR used to be known as Visiocorp Plc and before that it was part of German supplier Schefenacker. Visiocorp's name was changed in 2009 after being acquired by the Samvardhana Motherson Group.
Germany's Getrag Group and Sweden's Haldex AB improve vehicle stability by supplying the all-wheel-drive system. Getrag produces the rear drive module and the power take off unit while Haldex provides the coupling and developed the vehicle dynamics software.
Volvo builds the S60 in Ghent, Belgium. The initial annual global sales target is 90,000 units with the five largest markets being the UK, the United States, China, Russia and Sweden. Prices start at 27,000 euros (about $38,000) in Germany.
Volvo unveiled the new sedan at the Geneva auto show in March. The BMW 5-series rival is available with a choice of two diesels or a gasoline engine. In 2011, Volvo will add a third diesel that has a CO2-output rating of 115 grams per kilometer.