Swedish car maker Volvo, the company that invented and introduced the seatbelt in 1959 (and has never charged rival car brands to use its patented design), released in 2008 the first car to constantly monitor the possibility of – and then avoid – a nose-to-tail crash.
A laser in the windscreen of the Volvo XC60 wagon continually monitors slow-moving traffic 6-8 m ahead of the front bumper. If the driver has not applied the brakes in time, the City Safety system will automatically bring the car to an abrupt halt. If travelling at less than 15 km/h, contact with the car in front can be avoided – between 15 km/h and 30 km/h there may be light contact with the car in front.
This Volvo system differs from other radar-based auto braking technology that only works when cruise control is activated.
Volvo also became the first car-maker to introduce pedestrian detection and avoidance technology. This radar and camera-based system (introduced on the Volvo S60 sedan in May 2010) constantly scans for pedestrians between 30 m and 150 m in front of the car – and abruptly applies the brakes and brings the car to a stop if the driver has not reacted in time.