Volvo's safety goal: 'no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo'

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Two decades in the service of saving lives: Volvo Cars Safety Centre celebrates 20 years.
Two decades in the service of saving lives: Volvo Cars Safety Centre celebrates 20 years.

• Volvo is synonymous with safety in the motor industry.

• The Swedish carmaker's tagline of 'the safest car in the world' was used for several years.

• A safety lab used to crash cars for testing safety systems has been in use for 20 years. 

Swedish carmaker Volvo is synonymous with safety. For many years the brand's tagline was 'the safest car in the world', a claim they stand behind strongly. 

One of the ways was crashing at least one brand new car a day, on average. The company says this approach has been instrumental in preserving its position as a leader in automotive safety to this very day.

Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test
Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test

The space in which it conducts the safety crashes is known as the Volvo Cars Safety Centre crash lab and it has been around for 20 years.

At the time of its opening by the Swedish king, in 2000, it was one of the most advanced crash labs in the world and in many ways it still is today.

To this very day it helps Volvo Cars engineers to push the envelope in safety and to learn from real-life traffic accidents, as the company aims for a future in which no one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.

"Being committed to safety is not about passing a test or getting a safety rating," said Thomas Broberg, one of Volvo Cars' leading safety engineers and a two-decade company veteran.

"Our commitment to safety is about finding out how and why accidents and injuries occur and then developing the technology to help prevent them. We hope our pioneering work will inspire others to follow, our ambition to reduce road traffic casualties world wide."

In 2020, the crash lab is a multi-functional facility that allows its safety engineers to recreate countless traffic situations and accidents, and perform tests that go beyond regulatory requirements.

Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test
Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test

Comprehensive facility

The lab contains two test tracks of 108 and 154 metres long respectively. The shorter of the two is moveable and can be positioned at an angle between 0 and 90 degrees, allowing for crash tests at different angles and speeds, or to simulate a crash between two moving cars says the company.

Cars can be crashed at speeds up to 120km/h.Outside, there is room for performing tests like roll-over crashes and run-off road scenarios, whereby cars are launched into a ditch at high speeds.

Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test
Volvo S90 Small Overlap Crash Test

The future of crash testing

During crashes, the car, the crash test dummies and the barriers are fitted with sensors that allow engineers to register the entire chain of events in detail. Dozens of ultra-high definition cameras also film the crash test from every angle imaginable.

Before a physical crash test, the car model in question has already gone through thousands of computer simulated crash tests says the company.

All the data generated by these tests is then used by Volvo's engineers to develop safer cars.As the company moves towards an all-electric future, the Safety Centre has in recent years been equipped and prepared specifically to safely execute electric car crash tests as well.

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