Volvo Cars announced that sales of its cars equipped with systems for automatic braking passed the 1 million mark this month. More than 130,000 were sold in the United States.

Volvo Cars' technology for automatic braking includes several world firsts: City Safety, which is standard on the S60, XC60, XC70 and S80 and works at speeds up to 31 mph; Collision Warning with full auto brake; and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake.

"Several recent reports state that our groundbreaking auto braking technologies help reduce the risk of being involved in a rear-end accident by more than 20 percent. One million Volvos with auto brake on the roads take us toward our aim that nobody should be killed or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020," said Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor at Volvo Car Group. 

Auto Brake Efficiency Documented

The efficiency of Volvo Cars' approach has recently been highlighted:

  • The benefits of the City Safety technology -- featuring automatic braking in low-speed situations -- were documented in a 2012 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report, which stated a reduction in insurance claim frequencies.
  • In a 2012 IIHS survey of 500 U.S. Volvo owners, a majority of them liked their vehicle's crash avoidance features and credit the technology with keeping them safe and preventing crashes.
  • The owners' experiences also aligned with data from the Highway Loss Data Institute, which found that "the rate of property damage liability claims for Volvos with standard City Safety is lower than for other vehicles in the same class."
  • Findings by the Swedish insurance company Folksam show City Safety reduces injuries by 64% for people in cars hit from behind on roads with a 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit. In situations in which City Safety has been activated, but the crash has not been completely avoided, the injury reduction is around 40%. 

Focus on More Support for the Driver

Future Volvos will feature further improvements to existing safety systems as well as new solutions, the automaker said. Auto brake technology research is also exploring ways to make more systems efficient during night driving. Upcoming solutions will cover more objects and situations. 

"With smart interaction and new advanced solutions we will continue to contribute to further helping avoid collisions from occurring,” Broberg said. “Moreover, in our most recent car models we have reduced moderate to severe injuries by two-thirds compared with the rate for the older car models. And we are working continuously on new solutions that will bring the figure down even further."

Looking Toward the Future

Volvo's 2014 model lineup will feature Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake. Volvo also announced a number of technologies that will be featured in the all-new XC90, arriving in late 2014. These include:

  • Pedestrian Detection in darkness: Makes the detection and auto brake technology work effectively also when driving in darkness. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Road edge and barrier detection with steer assist: A feature that detects if the car is about to drive off the road and autonomously applies steering torque to bring the vehicle back on track. Being able to monitor where the physical road ends is a world first. This means that the technology also works on roads without side markings.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with steer assist: A technology that helps the driver stay in the lane and follow the rhythm of the traffic. The new system automatically follows the vehicle ahead.