Volvo unveils world’s ‘safest’ truck at ITS show

LONDON, England — Volvo’s European Integrated Safety Truck took center stage at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in London this week.

The highly technical truck is the result of cooperation within the EU Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme where Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturers have worked together to develop joint solutions for enhanced traffic safety.

The truck, according to Volvo, showcases the world’s most modern technologies within research for active safety — something that is called the “virtual safety belt.”

The Integrated Safety Truck is a Volvo FH equipped with the very latest future technologies for driver support, features that help the driver avoid an accident in the first place if at all possible. Volvo’s holistic approach to active safety means that the various technical solutions have been integrated so they can interact with one another. The starting-point is that the driver should not be over-burdened with information, says the company.

“We must take the human being’s capacity into account. It is crucial that we tailor our solutions to the human being rather than the other way round if they are to function properly,” says Karin Svensson, head of a department at Volvo Technology that specializes in driver interaction and active safety.

Put simply, the virtual safety belt is all about using a variety of sensor and monitoring technologies to create a virtual model of what happens around the vehicle. Based on this model, the system alerts the driver or steps in to act itself, depending on the situation.

“We use everything from visual warnings and audible alerts to systems that actively step in to avoid an accident,” explains Karin Svensson.

Adds Volvo Trucks safety manager Lars-Göran Löwenadler: “The consequences of accidents involving heavy vehicles are often more serious, especially for other road-users than for the driver of the heavy vehicle.

“From society’s viewpoint, it is in addition important to avoid accidents that disrupt the flow of traffic and that may cause environmental problems owing to the dangerous nature of the cargoes being transported. That is why we at Volvo feel we have a particular responsibility for being at the forefront of the drive to find solutions that avoid accidents and serious incidents.”

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