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June 24, 2021

A new safety standard comes to the next generation of Volvos

Intro: Our next generation of cars should be the safest cars we’ve ever made and will introduce our first fully autonomous feature. One key element to make that happen are standard LiDAR sensors and a powerful AD supercomputer.

One phrase you’ve heard a lot in recent times is that sustainability is as important as safety for Volvo. Obviously, that means we care a lot about our environment, but it also implies that we won’t forget about our safety credentials either when developing our next generation of cars. In fact, we aim to set a new benchmark for automotive safety.


How we do that, you wonder? Starting with the fully electric successor to our XC90 flagship, which will be revealed in 2022, our future cars will come with state-of-the-art sensors, including LiDAR technology and an autonomous driving (AD) computer, as standard.


These features are developed by two of our technology partners in California. Those LiDAR sensors come courtesy of our friends at Luminar, while the big brains at NVIDIA provides us with their NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-a-chip technology to power that AD computer.


LiDAR is an ideal basis for safe decision-making in complex environments at high speeds, as it’s a type of laser-based technology that measures distances to targets hundreds of metres ahead. The super computing technology from NVIDIA can make A LOT of calculations per second, making sure that our cars can process the numerous, constant inputs from the LiDAR and other sensors.


Merge all that shiny hardware with software made by our in-house developers, our sister company Zenseact and Luminar, as well as the next generation of our collision avoidance technology, and you have a world-beating combination.


We anticipate that this new safety package will reduce fatalities and accidents as a whole. In fact, by applying over-the-air software updates we can roll out new technologies and further improve our safety package over time.


“Volvo Cars is and always has been a leader in safety. We’ll now define the next level of car safety,” says Håkan Samuelsson, our chief executive. “By having this hardware as standard, we can continuously improve safety features over the air and introduce advanced autonomous drive systems, reinforcing our leadership in safety.”


Once these technologies are on our cars, we expect them to get better over time. The car will become increasingly capable to support the driver in safety critical situations and even intervene when absolutely needed. All this takes us ever closer to our vision of a zero-collision future.


“In our ambition to deliver ever safer cars, our long-term aim is to achieve zero collisions and avoid crashes altogether,” explains Henrik Green, our chief technology officer. “As we improve our safety technology continuously through updates over the air, we expect collisions to become increasingly rare and hope to save more lives.”


Apart from those high-end sensors and AD computer, the pure electric successor to the XC90 will also come with back-up systems for key functions such as steering and braking. These make the car hardware-ready for safe, unsupervised autonomous driving once available.


Our first (optional) autonomous driving feature is called Highway Pilot and has been developed in-house together with our AD software development company Zenseact. On roads and locations that are verified to be safe for driving in autonomous mode, you will be able to lean back and allow the car to take care of all the driving.


Our new safety technology package is a good illustration of our overall approach to technology development. Rather than trying to do everything ourselves, we team up with the best companies in their respective fields to try and build the best cars we can make. It also gives us a technology base that allows us to be one of the fastest-moving car makers in a rapidly transforming industry.


See all the content from our recent Tech Moment, that explains how we’ll achieve our all-electric future.