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A Volvo that can read your mind

 Published 19th October 2022
General Guides  New Launches 

It feels wrong to start with a cliché but in this case it's one firmly rooted in reality. If someone says “Volvo” your brain automatically says “safe”. It's just a fact.

Volvo has been around for almost a century and in that time it has consistently produced some of the best engineered and safest cars around. So, when Volvo says its new cars will be even safer it makes you wonder……how?

We won't have all the details until early November because that's when the brand-new Volvo EX90 will be officially unveiled. In the meantime, Volvo has provided a few hints at the new technology that will feature in its new flagship electric SUV.

As we said, a lot of this is being kept under wraps ahead of the big reveal so we can't say much about the car. And not in a secretive way…..we literally have no idea. It's a big SUV, it's electric, and based on the name it's likely to be very similar to the superb XC90, but even more modern and up to date.

So, what can you expect from the Volvo EX90 if you decide to lease one?

According to Volvo, a car that knows how you feel.

It doesn't take a genius to know that it's easy to get distracted for a moment while driving. We're all human, we all have good and bad days, we all drive after a long day at work, when we're angry, frustrated, sad, hungry, you get the idea. Volvo has taken the study of human behaviour to a new level to make its new cars as safe as possible.

The interior is packed with special sensors and cameras that can gauge eye gaze concentration so the car can tell when you're distracted, tired or otherwise inattentive. The cameras learn your eye gaze patterns as you drive, measuring the amount of time you normally spend looking at the road ahead so it can tell when you're getting distracted.

If you're looking at the road less than usual it can be a sign that you are visually distracted. Looking at the road more than usual could mean your mind is elsewhere and you might not actually be registering what's going on ahead of you. It's even got a special steering wheel that can sense your grip and knows if you've relaxed or let go and will monitor the steering inputs to make sure you haven't nodded off at the wheel.

The car will alert you with the usual array of beeps and bongs

However, if you fail to respond, they will also get a lot more insistent if needed. And if the unthinkable happens and you fall asleep or are taken ill while driving, the EX90 is actually designed to safely stop and call for help. If the driver doesn't respond to increasingly clear warnings, the car will safely stop by the side of the road with its hazard lights on to warn other vehicles.

As well as keeping an eye on the driver it also keeps a series of cameras, radars, and Lidar on the road at the same time, creating a 360-degree real-time view of the world. It constantly scans the road ahead and can see even quite small objects in the road from hundreds of metres away, day or night. These systems won't get distracted and are programmed to react if you happen to be a millisecond too late.

Volvo has summed up the details by describing the new safety systems as “an invisible shield of safety…allowing the car to understand your state of mind and the world around you”.

We'll have to wait a little bit longer to find out for ourselves, but it's looking like it will be very hard to argue with that.

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