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Volvo approaches crash-free future with opening of new test facility

Volvo will be developing active safety systems, which help to prevent accidents, at a new proving ground in Sweden, bringing it closer to its goal that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.

The new facility AstaZero (which stands for Active Safety Test Area) is the world’s first full-scale proving ground for future traffic safety solutions and is located in close proximity to the Volvo Cars headquarters in western Sweden.

As well as developing next-generation safety technologies, the work at AstaZero will 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.

The centre can accommodate a wide range of test conditions, such as those found on busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways and crossroads.

Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero, said: “You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios. At most proving grounds, the options are more limited.”

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, such as those involving complex traffic situations and high speeds, robots will operate the test vehicles.

“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.

    Although meeting the target date of 2020 may be an ambitious goal, Volvo Cars believes it has every reason to be optimistic.

Axelson said: “The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety. 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.”


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