Cambridge, Mass. -- At its awards dinner at the MIT Faculty Club, the New England Motor Press Association honored Volvo with this year's Yankee Cup Technology Award for the unique safety enhancements available on its automobiles.
The 2011 Yankee Cup Technology award, jointly bestowed by NEMPA and MIT, goes to Volvo for its $2,100 Technology Package available on the 2011 S60 and many other models. Volvos so equipped are able to stop themselves before a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian can occur.
The awards jury noted that "Volvo's Technology Package may be the single most cost-effective option available on a car today. Its purchase price will likely be earned back in avoiding even a minor fender-bender, while its potential for saving lives is priceless."
For the first time, NEMPA invited MIT to help evaluate the nominees for the award. NEMPA's awards jury noted, "As journalists, we can pick out automotive systems that offer special utility, but we relied on our relationship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to confirm the technical elegance and worth of our choices for the Yankee technology Cup."
Dr. Bryan Reimer, of MIT's AgeLab and the New England University Transportation Center, said, "As a member of the MIT community that was involved in coordinating the selection process, and a research engineer focused on vehicle safety, I am very happy to see that Volvo, a company with a long commitment to safety, has been awarded the Yankee Technology Cup."
In addition to an already comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features, Volvo's new Technology Package is designed to reduce car-to-car, pedestrian and single-car accidents, in many cases virtually eliminating deaths or injuries to those in and around the car. This unique system of hardware and software includes:
- Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist
- Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake
- Distance Alert Control
- Driver Alert Control
- Lane Departure Warning
Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake uses forward-looking radar and digital camera identification that scans an object, matches its shape against an image database of about 10,000 forms, assigns a target number (it can track 64 people at a time) and tracks pedestrian paths, all within 50 milliseconds. If a pedestrian walks into the car's path and an impact is imminent, a warning light and tone warn the driver. If the driver does not brake or move the steering wheel, the car will completely stop itself from speeds less than 19 mph. At higher speeds, vehicle speed is reduced by about half.
Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist allows the driver to set speed as well as distance and time interval behind another vehicle. It smoothly applies the brakes as the lead car slows. If the interval between the cars shrinks, a warning light and tone alerts the driver. If the lead car stops, the system automatically applies the brakes to stop the Volvo. As the lead car resumes speed, the Volvo automatically speeds up to the pre-set speed and distance settings. If the lead car does not move within 30 seconds, the system resets itself to normal driver-assist mode.
Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake warns the driver that an impact with another vehicle is imminent, and if the driver does not brake or steer around the lead vehicle, the system applies full braking to help avoid an accident. After the initial determination that an impact might occur, the system pre-loads the brakes, ready for either driver or the Collision Warning system to take action.
Driver Alert Control helps a driver who may be becoming fatigued or drowsy or who is inadvertently leaving the lane: A windshield-mounted camera monitors the paint strips on the road and tracks driver behavior within the lane. A warning light and tone alerts the driver of possibly dangerous behavior.
Lane Departure Warning also monitors lane dividers, and signals a warning if a lane is crossed without the driver activating a turn signal.
Each of these safety mechanisms can be turned off if, for example, the Volvo is in slow traffic where the distances between vehicles are too close. They all automatically re-engage each time the car is started again.