Volvo was founded in 1927 on the concept of safety. Its vehicles became known for their robust build, high-tech systems and safety-focused qualities. Volvo is globally acknowledged for its research in automotive safety engineering, gaining global recognition as an industry leader in this field. This article will bring the limelight to the design innovations that it has implemented, many of which later became industry standards.
Volvo’s Earliest Safety Equipment
Volvo’s vision is an ambitious one: that there will be zero death or injury in a Volvo vehicle. So, while most automakers integrate safety as something that they need to pass standards and tests, Volvo builds its cars to revolve around this most critical goal – safety.
In 1944, the car brand introduced laminated windscreen in their PV model to protect car occupants from shards of broken glass in the event of a crash.
In 1959, Volvo Engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seatbelt at a time when two-point waist restraints were used in vehicles. This invention was first fitted in a PV544 in Kristianstad, Sweden. Why it is now being used as a standard of safety for all cars is another story.
Realizing how vital the seatbelt was, Volvo decided to open its patent and shared it to the world for free so that all cars would be equipped with it. This ingenious device has since then prevented serious car injuries and saved millions of lives all over the world. Present laws now require it in all parts of the planet.
Rear-facing child seat
Child restraint systems were invented as early as the 1930s. In 1962, two inventors designed modern-day child car seats. In 1964, Volvo came up with its rear-facing child seat inspired from space rocket seats and, in 1978, developed their booster seat design.
Modern-Day Safety Systems
Side-Impact Protection System (SIPS)
Volvo Cars developed the SIPS in 1991 to protect car occupants from the impact of a side hit. The 1991 version was used for the 700, 900 and 850 series for MY 1992. The system functioned as a safety cage consisting of reinforced seats, a reinforced lower sill, doors with energy-absorbing honeycomb material, and side-impact airbags.
The SIPS underwent an update in 1994, which included mechanically activated side airbags. In 1998, Volvo redesigned the SIPS to include an inflatable curtain (IC) airbag, which protects the head. The fourth-generation version was introduced for the 2007 model year, which now added more bracing and used more high-strength steel.
Whiplash Protection (WHIPS)
This system protects against neck injury as a result of a fast-speed car crash. It consists of a specially designed seat with a sturdy backrest and headrest and a pivot mechanism at the base. It has helped reduce short-term injuries by 33% and long-term whiplash injuries by 54%, according to Volvo's research team.
Inflatable Curtain (IC) airbag
The IC, which is part of SIPS, was first used by Volvo in 1997. The initial design had the IC airbag deployed from the roof, so this was not practicable for convertibles. For this reason, a version was designed to enable the protective airbag to deploy from the floor.
According to test authorities, the presence of IC airbags lowered death risks due to side impact by 40% and brain injury by up to 55%.
Roll-over Protection System (ROPS)
ROPS are like roll cages that protect a car's occupants from a severe head injury in the event of a rollover or overturn. In 2002, Volvo introduced this system, which consisted of an electronic roll-stability control system and strengthened-steel roof reinforcement.
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
To overcome ‘blind spots,’ Volvo introduced the BLIS in 2003. This warning system uses cameras and sensors to detect objects in the surroundings. The BLIS became standard on all Volvo models. Ford Motor Company, which previously owned Volvo, also adapted the BLIS to several of its models.
Personal Car Communicator (PCC)
The PCC remote control is a safety feature in a key fob. It was first used as an optional system of protection for the Volvo S80, the model year 2007. Before entering a car with this safety system, you can check to see if you have set the alarm or locked the vehicle. It also detects heartbeats, so it will warn you if someone has sneaked into your car or if you have absentmindedly left a child sleeping inside.
In 2008, Volvo developed the first generation of the City Safety auto brake technology, which assists in avoiding traffic accidents at speeds of 30 km/h. The protective system uses sensors and is programmed to activate the auto brakes if the car ahead is moving slowly or at a standstill, and the driver is not responding on time. All Volvo cars from the model year 2014 were fitted with the second-generation of City Safety, which can stop at 50 km/h.
Volvo Caps it at 180 km/h
While most automakers race to produce the fastest cars, the Swedish car company chose to take the unpopular road. It has instead pioneered the Speed Limiter, which sets the cap at 180 km/h for all its models from this year onwards.
This does not surprise us at all since speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents and deaths on the road. Volvo Cars has always placed safety above all else, so their decision to set a speed limiter is logical.
This move may not make it the top choice for speed-loving car owners, but it will secure Volvo’s position as a vanguard of safety in the auto industry.
Keep yourself updated for industry news, useful guides, and car reviews by regularly visiting our blog section. We also invite you to use our Parts Request tool, which makes searching for car parts a breeze!.