Volvo's determination to safety is never-ending. The Swedish automaker believes that by 2020, nobody will be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo vehicle.
That's a bold claim for an automaker to make. However, Volvo has been working on developing active safety systems that can be tested at its new AstaZero proving ground. AstaZero is a facility that is flexible enough to simulate almost any driving scenario. In this way it is a one-of-a-kind facility compared to other testing grounds.
"One of the facility's greatest assets is its flexibility, with a design that permits the construction of unique, customized environments," said Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero. "You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios. At most proving grounds, the options are more limited."
These real-world traffic scenarios include busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways, and crossroads. At AstaZero, Volvo can examine how drivers interact with obstacles such as pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, buses, animals, and other cars. Robots will test the traffic situations that are deemed significantly more dangerous than a low-speed, city interaction.
"Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems," says Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Center. "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 address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists."
AstaZero will be the platform of research and development for Volvo's new, active safety systems. Some of these systems will include autonomous driving, intelligent driver support, and advanced systems that can compensate for inattentiveness or fatigue.
2020 is not that far away. It is already almost 2015, leaving just over 5 years until Volvo hopes to meet its goal. With this AstaZero test facility, though, Volvo has every right to be optimistic. AstaZero is another huge step forward in creating a crash-free world.