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Company aims to reduce 1.25m annual road deaths

Volvo has unveiled its new pedestrian and cyclist detection system for buses, part of its promise to introduce death-proof cars and vehicles by the year 2020.

The system will be introduced on Volvo’s European city bus fleet in 2017, and the company says it will make inroads to reduce the 1.25 million annual road traffic deaths worldwide.

Peter Danielsson, Director Vehicle Features and Safety at Volvo Buses said: “Accidents involving buses and unprotected road-users seldom occur, but when they do the consequences may be very serious. In order to minimise the risks, it is important that drivers and anyone moving around near buses – such as at bus stops and pedestrian crossings – pays close attention to the traffic. In this context the Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System offers excellent support.”

The Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection System continuously monitors the bus’s vicinity using a camera.

When the system detects unprotected road-users near the bus, it transmits a sound to warn other road-users that the bus is approaching.

At the same time, the driver is alerted via sound and light signals inside the vehicle. If there is an imminent risk of an incident, the bus’s horn is activated.

“Several of the components in our system are based on the same tried and tested technology found in many cars. But we are the only vehicle manufacturer to offer a solution that simultaneously notifies both driver and unprotected road-user,” says Peter Danielsson.

The company said that as the proportion of electrified vehicles in urban traffic continues to grow, exhaust fumes and noise disappear, but creates the need to eliminate any risks of road users not hearing vehicles approaching.

“The bus can be heard – but without being disruptive. We’ve solved this problem by developing a synthetic background sound with a frequency range that is not perceived as disruptive. For instance, it does not penetrate windows with triple glazing, unlike the low-frequency noise made by a diesel engine,” said Danielsson.

Volvo coaches are used by a number of private hire firms in the UK, but their municipal city buses are more popular in mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.