Volvo Cars has announced that it is partnering with Swedish sports and safety brand POC for a series of world-first crash tests of bicycle helmets against cars. This partnership is a part of a new research project that aims to further protect cyclists. Accidents between bicycles and vehicles can often lead to serious injury or death, which is why Volvo Cars is said to have a clear strategy to avoid these types of accidents completely with the help of active safety technologies.
Cyclist detection with full auto brake uses the car’s cameras and radars to detect cyclists, warn the driver of an imminent collision and apply brakes if further action is needed, explained Volvo. It said this is a development of the company’s automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection systems, in line with its safety vision.
The Volvo-POC research project consists of a number of specially-designed crash tests at Volvo’s safety research facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden. This project is part of a wider research project to understand the types of long-term injuries sustained by cyclists. During these tests, POC bicycle helmets are worn by crash dummy heads mounted on a testing rig. They are then launched towards different areas of the bonnet of a static Volvo car, at different speeds and angles for various measurements.
Volvo Cars noted that tests carried out as part of the project are based on existing regulatory test procedures for pedestrian head protection. This allows both Volvo Cars and POC to make a direct comparison between wearing a helmet and not wearing a helmet. Current bicycle helmet testing procedures are claimed to be fairly rudimentary, involving helmets being dropped from different heights on either a flat or an angled surface. They do not take into account vehicle to bicycle accidents. The Volvo-POC project aims to further refine and advance such testing, the company said.
Learnings from the research project will help POC make its helmets safer and more protective in the event of a car-bicycle accident. Meanwhile, the tests will also provide valuable insights and learnings for Volvo Cars into these types of accidents for future development. In an earlier collaboration, Volvo Cars and POC worked on a pilot to connect bike helmets with cars in order to help avoid accidents.
Malin Ekholm, Head, Volvo Cars Safety Centre, said this project with POC is a good example of the company’s pioneering spirit in safety. Volvo Cars often develops new testing methods for challenging traffic scenarios, and aims not only to meet legal requirements or pass rating tests, he added. Ekholm further added that the company instead goes beyond ratings and using real traffic situations to develop technology that further improves safety.
Much like Volvo Cars, safety is at the very centre of the company’s mission and drives all its ideas and innovations, noted Oscar Huss, Head, Product Development, POC. He said that by working closely with scientific leaders in the POC Lab, the company strives to lead the way in introducing new safety ideas. Certification standards are essential, but they should never limit the willingness to look beyond their parameters to find better and more innovative ways to reduce the consequences of accidents, added Huss.
Volvo Cars has recently been focussing on also protecting people outside its cars. An example is the launch of the company’s pedestrian detection with full autobrake in 2010 and cyclist detection with full auto brake in 2013. Both technologies come as standard in all Volvo cars as part of the City Safety package and have helped to improve overall traffic safety.