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Volvo S60 safety demonstration fails

Crash-avoidance technology fails on camera

Volvo S60 - 2

Volvo (usually) has an imperious reputation for safety

Volvo’s great reputation for safety took a bit of a knock last week when a car demonstrating its crash-avoidance technology, crashed. 

Volvo was using the safety demonstration to show off its latest technology and celebrate the 10th anniversary of its crash-test laboratory in Torslanda, Sweden, where the malfunction occurred.

One of three crash-test safety exercises involved a new , installed with the company’s latest City Safety crash-avoidance system, being launched at 30mph towards the back of a parked articulated lorry. The collision-technology was supposed to detect the lorry using multiple sensors, apply the brakes automatically and bring the car to a stop safely. Only it didn’t, as our video shows.


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Volvo’s initial investigation into the unintentional crash suggested that is was due to a battery problem that had occurred on the pre-production vehicle earlier in the day, and that human error was to blame rather than any fault with the safety system. 

Volvo S60 crash

Volvo was celebrating the 10th anniversary of its crash-test laboratory

Which? Car deputy editor Claire Evans was at the safety demonstration. ‘We had successfully tested the collision avoidance system earlier in the day in Volvo XC60s, which stopped a few feet short of a child-sized crash-test dummy. So although it was a real shame – and a surprise – to see a brand-new S60 get smashed up, it was good to see what would happen in a car not equipped with the safety system.’

In its 10-year history, the Torslanda crash-test site has carried out more than 3,000 full-scale tests, giving Volvo its deserved reputation for building safe cars. However, this very public exercise no doubt caused some embarrassment among Volvo’s safety team.

Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars explained that, as the test facility operates ‘live’ crash tests, it’s not always possible to guarantee the results. He reiterated the company’s future aim of striving to ensure that nobody should die or suffer serious injury in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.


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