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The Final Frontier: Volvo is Driving at the Forefront of Technology

The Final Frontier

When it comes to cars, most of us thought we’d be flying through the air Jetson-style by now. Though we’re not there yet, many innovations are on the brink of revolutionizing the auto industry. Volvo, with their impressive advancements in technology, is leading the way.

The Self-Driving Car

The present day Volvo features several new advancements – such as a powerful drive-e engine, fuel efficiency, computerized abilities that keep track of a driver’s habits (thus optimizing performance), a Sensus Navigation system (that allows remote access to the heater, door, locks, and GPS), music streaming capabilities, and full internet access – but the innovations in development are the ones that truly amaze.

Volvo, according to Time magazine, is aiming to be the first automobile manufacturer to bring self-driving cars to the marketplace. In order to accomplish this, they have partnered with Sweden and agreed to bring 100 self-driving Volvos to the city of Gothenburg. These cars work by using a set of cameras, GPS data, and motion sensors to avoid accidents. To ensure further safety, they have a maximum speed of 43.5 miles an hour.

With a budget of 76.2 million dollars, Volvo is undertaking this adventure beginning in 2014. Nissan, by comparison, intends to have their self-driving cars ready by 2020.

The Advanced Safety Features

Volvo has always had a well-deserved reputation for being safe – the 2014 Volvo received a 10 from the US News rankings – but their focus on safety is far from over. Not only do the new Volvos come with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection – which detects and automatically brakes for walkers or bike riders – but they also include knee airbags, pedestrian airbags, and rear alert. In the near future, Volvo is even aspiring to make driving completely free of fatalities.

Per Popular Science, Volvo’s Vision 2020 program possesses the goal that “nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo” by year 2020. They intend to do this by using a new technological infrastructure that supports car-to-car communication and advanced crash-testing. The car-to-car communication is vital, as it will allow cars to use adaptive cruise controls to keep a set distance from one another.

How Volvo Compares With Other Innovators

Volvo isn’t the only car company with the future on its mind: as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Toyota Prius, the BMW and the Ford Escape all feature a self-parking system. These systems help the driver with back-in parking, parallel parking, and, in some cases, picking a parking spot. However, when tested, all three systems presented their own problems: when parking conditions didn’t replicate exact circumstances, the cars had trouble adapting. This glitch has the potential to make the systems unusable in downtown areas or big cities where parking needs to be quick and accurate.

Concept cars, such as those developed by Mercedes and Audi, have also proven innovative: they have produced cars that look ripped straight out of 2030. Yet, the innovation behind many concept cars is often limited to the surface: concept cars are fun to look at and exciting to think about, but they often lack practicality and safety. In fact, many aren’t actually even drivable.

They are also too expensive for mass consumption: according to Motor Trend, Audi’s first Sport Quattro was worth more than five million. In other words, way, way more than the average consumer can ever afford to spend.

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