According to the company, the goal will be achieved by implementing a variety of advanced autonomous technologies in order to improve collision avoidance, as well as by improving the inherent safety of its cars with such features as improved airbags and restraints. The result is expected to be vehicles capable of fully autonomous operation.
"With the development of full autonomy we are going to push the limits of automotive safety," said Volvo safety engineer Erik Coelingh in an interview with CNN, "because if you make a fully autonomous vehicle you have to think through everything that potentially can happen with a car."
The 2020 Volvo models are planned to integrate several advanced features:
• Adaptive Cruise Control , which uses radar and other sensors to detect vehicles on the road ahead to allow a safe following distance.
• Auto lane keeping assist , which uses cameras to detect lane lines and road edges.
• Collision avoidance , which uses a combination of radar, cameras, and sensors to detect obstacles in the car's path.
• Pedestrian detection , which can detect human forms - even at night - that might be in the vehicle's path.
• Large animal detection , which can detect when a big animal may be walking in front of the car.
Even when a vehicle is not in fully autonomous mode, these features would remain on in the background and be able to take over in an emergency.
Currently, according to statistics kept by the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety , there are nine vehicle models in which there have been no driver fatalities in the past four years - up from no models that met this criterion eight years ago. These vehicles included the Audi A4 4WD, Honday Odyssey, Kia Sorento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 4WD, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD, Subaru Legacy 4WD, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequioa 4WD, and Volvo XC90 4WD.