The safest Volvo yet? New electric EX90 SUV will 'understand' when you're not feeling your best

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Volvo Cars South Africa launched a series of new models this year, including the XC60 Recharge and the XC90 Recharge. And, let's not forget one of the most affordable electric vehicles available in the local market, the XC40 Recharge.

While more new cars are en route to our local shores, Volvo Cars has now also officially announced its upcoming all-electric flagship SUV. The new vehicle will wear the EX90 badge, and the Swedish carmaker promises it will be the safest Volvo yet.

Joachim de Verdier, the head of Safe Vehicle Automation at Volvo Cars, said at a global virtual conference on Wednesday, 21 September, that the EX90 marks the start of a fresh era. The forthcoming EX90 will take the automaker's legacy of safety, quality and innovation firmly into the future.

2022 Volvo XC40 T3.
2022 Volvo XC40 T3.

How are they planning to do this?

Volvo says the EX90 will boast one of the most advanced sensor sets on the market. A unique suite of eight cameras, five radars, 16 ultrasonic sensors and a cutting-edge Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor will combine with in-house developed software, the vehicle's core computing power and a new real-time interior sensing system to move the firm a step closer to its vision of a future with zero collisions. 

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"We believe the EX90 to be the safest Volvo car ever to hit the road," says De Verdier. "We are fusing our understanding of the outside environment with our more detailed understanding of driver attention. When all our safety systems, sensors, software and computing power come together, they create a preventative shield of safety around you – and you won't even know it's there until you need it."

Embedded in the EX90's roofline, the class-leading LiDAR sensor can detect pedestrians at up to 250-metre distances and something as small and dark as a tyre on a black road 120 metres ahead – all while travelling at highway speeds.

A car that understands its driver

The new "driver understanding system" uses two cameras in the cabin to observe the driver's eye-gaze patterns and pick up early signals that indicate the driver may not be at their best. By measuring how much time the driver looks at the road ahead (allowing for natural variations), it understands when the driver's eyes, and perhaps mind, are focused somewhere other than on driving.

The automaker says the capacitive steering wheel also plays a role, sensing if the driver lets go of the wheel and monitoring the stability of the steering input. By using patented algorithms for real-time sensing of gaze patterns and steering behaviour, the car will be able to take appropriate action to help the driver when needed, from sounding a simple warning signal to even safely stopping at the side of the road, alerting other road users with its hazard lights.

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Ultimately, using these new sensor systems (inside and out), the vehicle will not only be able to step in and assist the driver, but it will also have a better understanding of when it's needed and how to assist in the best possible way.

If these details are anything to go by, it does sound like one of the most technologically advanced and safest vehicles we're yet to see. 

Is it coming to South Africa? 

At this point, nothing has been confirmed for the local market, and the automaker says more details of the electric EX90 will be released in the coming weeks, before the global reveal takes place on 9 November 2022. Since the reveal only takes place in a couple of months, there are no official images to show our readers just yet.

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