Safety First With Volvo: A Closer Look At The Swedish Marque's Crash Scene Investigators
For the past 50 years, crashes that occur around Gothenburg, Sweden involving a Volvo vehicle have been meticulously studied by Volvo's Cars' Accident Research Team. This team is dedicated to improving the safety of Volvo by studying the sequence of events leading up to the accident and inspecting how their cars are affected from the impact. Consisting of behavioural scientists and biomechanics experts, the team is the reason behind Volvo's great reputation in safety.
It all began when Volvo's engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point belt which Volvo introduced as a standard feature in the front seats. A comprehensive survey in 1966 was then conducted about the reduction in injuries thanks to the three-point belt. The results suggested that the belt reduced injuries by 50 per cent. With a realisation that the aftermath of an accident can be valuable data for safety development, Volvo established the Accident Research Team in 1970—and it has been an essential part of the company ever since.
The team has since gathered and analysed data from more than 40,000 cars and 70,000 passengers. This has led to many of the innovative systems in their cars designed to save lives.
Current Volvo features like WHIPS (Whiplash Injury Protection System) and SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) are the outcomes from these studies. WHIPS is a system in a Volvo seat that consists of energy-absorbing backrests and specially designed head restraints in the front seat. It was implemented after studies showed that women are more likely to suffer chest injuries in a crash compared to men due to the differences in chest anatomy and strength. Designed to protect the head and spine, it is the main reason why there is negligible difference in whiplash risk between men and women in Volvo vehicles.
Meanwhile, SIPS is an intelligent structure to boost the passenger's overall safety. Together with the side-impact airbag, SIPS reduces severe chest injuries by more than 50 per cent.
Additionally, the E.V.A initiative started by the Accident Research Team studies and collects data from female crash test dummies. This is because most automakers still produce cars based mainly on data from male crash test dummies.
“The Accident Research Team is far from the only source of research data for our safety experts, but it plays an important role for us to really understand the details,” reiterates Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
The invaluable data has propelled Volvo to the forefront of safety development, a scenario that is likely to continue in the next 50 years and beyond
See also: Volvo Drives Home The Importance Of Seat Belts In Saving Lives