AstaZero, a full-scale proving ground for future traffic safety solutions, has been opened by the Volvo Car Group, bringing it a step closer to realizing its vision that, by 2020, no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
An important measure towards achieving this goal will be the development of active safety systems, which will help to prevent accidents, according to the automaker. These active safety systems will be the primary focus at AstaZero proving ground, located in close proximity to the Volvo Cars headquarters in western Sweden.
One of the facility’s greatest assets is its flexibility, with a design that permits the construction of unique, customized environments. “You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios,” said Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero. “At most proving grounds, the options are more limited.”
The center can accommodate a wide range of test conditions, such as those found on busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways and crossroads. These conditions are crucial for studying the way cars interact with moving obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, buses and even animals that suddenly appear. In certain studies, e.g., those involving complex traffic situations and high speeds, robots will operate the test vehicles, according to the automaker.
“Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems,” said Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “The facility will play several important roles: not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don’t crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists.”
One of AstaZero’s main functions will be as a platform for the research and development of next-generation safety technologies, according to the automaker. Here, in collaboration with universities and industry partners, Volvo Cars will undertake a range of initiatives, from strategic vehicle research and innovation projects to targeted research projects.
The work at AstaZero will also include the development and testing of autonomous driving technology. Advanced systems are also under progress to further help prevent, for example, inattentiveness and driver fatigue, according to Volvo.
“The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety,” said Axelson. “Thanks to AstaZero, we have great prospects for keeping our leading position. We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.”