Volvo has unveiled details of the sophisticated new safety equipment on its upcoming XC90 4×4, which is due to be revealed in August.

World first safety kit to be featured on the new model includes an auto brake function when turning in front of an oncoming vehicle and a system to protect occupants should the car leave the road.

These all fit into Volvo’s 'Vision 2020' strategy, in which the company strives to ensure that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.

The auto braking function at junctions aims to prevent collisions – or reduce the severity of a crash – should the driver attempt to pull in front of an oncoming car, by applying the brakes automatically.

Run-off Road Protection shields occupants should the car leave the road in the event of driver distraction, fatigue or severe weather – which Volvo claims accounts for half of all traffic fatalities in the US and a third of severe or fatal crashes in Sweden.

“Committing to safety is not about passing a test or getting a ranking.”

This system senses when the car has left the road and tightens the front seatbelts to keep occupants in position while the car is moving. The seats have also been designed to protect passengers from spinal injuries by absorbing forces that may occur if the car ends up on rough terrain.

The car is also capable of automatically following slow-moving traffic and controlling its own acceleration, braking and steering. Allied to this, Volvo’s City Safety system can also stop the car itself if it senses that it is going to crash into the vehicle in front.

Another feature is rear facing radar which detects if a rear impact is imminent and tenses seatbelts automatically to keep passengers in place. The car’s lights also flash in an attempt to alert the approaching driver.

Other safety equipment on the new XC90 includes Lane Keeping Aid which steers the car itself if it senses that it is about to cross the white lines and Driver Alert Control which detects and warns tired or inattentive drivers. Rest Stop Guidance can even direct drivers to the nearest rest area.

With these and a host of other equipment designed to protect driver and passengers in a crash, Volvo is calling the new XC90: “One of the safest cars in the world”. Volvo goes on to say that the XC90: “Will offer the most comprehensive and technologically sophisticated standard safety package available in the automotive industry.”

“Committing to safety is not about passing a test or getting a ranking,” said Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist Safety at Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “It is about finding out how and why accidents and injuries occur and then developing the technology to prevent them. We lead, the industry follows.”

Picture: Volvo