The All New Volvo S80 | Part Seven

Volvo S80

Volvo S80

  • Personal Car Communicator (PCC): world first with a heartbeat sensor
  • Advanced safety design: patented front structure with high energy absorption
  • Improved side impact airbags with separate chest and hip chambers
  • New generation WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System)
  • Pedestrian protection
  • New Collision Warning and Brake Support systems
  • Advanced braking functions: HBA, OHB, RAB, FBS, BLIS and IDIS driver support systems

The best way to protect the car's occupants is to avoid accidents, so the all new S80 is designed to be one of the safest cars in its class with a sophisticated network of interacting safety systems. It is equipped with the latest generation of Volvo safety systems and technological innovations – some of which were previewed on recent Volvo concept cars - to help contribute to safer driving and improved personal safety.

As well as Volvo's BLIS4 (Blind Spot Information System) and IDIS5 (Intelligent Driver Information System), new features include Active Bi-Xenon headlights to help give the driver a better view of the road ahead at night, while a new Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has a radar sensor to continuously measure and maintain a safe distance from the car in front by automatically adjusting the car's speed.

Naturally, the all new Volvo S80 incorporates a host of other Volvo safety solutions, such as a collapsible steering wheel which deforms horizontally for best possible interaction with the airbag, seatbelt reminders for all five seats, SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) with reinforced and rigid SIPS pipes between the A-pillars and in the seats with a deformable steel box in the centre of the car, plus diagonally mounted crossmembers made of Ultra High Strength steel in the doors.

Deformation Zones

The all new Volvo S80 is designed with an advanced body structure to provide high levels of protection in all types of accident situations. Its patented front structure is divided into different deformation zones using four different grades of steel: conventional bodywork steel, High Strength steel, Extra High Strength steel and Ultra High Strength steel.

Low-speed deformation zone: A rigid crossmember behind the front bumper uses Ultra High Strength and the attachments to the body's longitudinal members are designed in the form of 'crash boxes' which help absorb forces in low-speed collisions without damaging other parts of the body structure.

High-speed deformation zone: This zone absorbs the most deformation and includes the longitudinal members made of high strength steel which is optimised for high energy absorption.

Back-up zone: A very rigid section of Extra High Strength steel to protect the passenger compartment.

Three-way attachment: A side member links the A-pillars and lower side members to form an extremely rigid three-way attachment on each side to protect the passenger compartment.

Improved side impact airbags

A new type of side airbag with two separate chambers - one for the chest and another for the hips - makes Volvo's patented SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), even more effective.

As the hips can withstand greater forces than the chest, the side airbag's lower chamber inflates to five times the pressure of the upper chamber for the chest. The side airbags operate in conjunction with the IC (Inflatable Curtain), crossmembers and reinforced B-pillars to offer the most effective side impact protection possible.

New Generation WHIPS

The Volvo system for helping prevent neck injuries - WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) - fitted to the front seats, has received further development for the all new S80 so that the system is more effective and ensures better contact between the head and head restraint throughout its operation.

Pedestrian protection

Volvo has designed the front of the all new S80 with energy absorbing features to protect other road users, incorporating soft structures in front of the bumper to help counteract the risk of leg injuries to pedestrians. The lower spoiler has also been reinforced and designed to be further forward in line with the bumper to distribute the force of any impact over a greater area.

In addition, the bonnet has a raised shape with a honeycomb structure to distribute the load of any impact and reduce the risk of injury.

Personal Car Communicator

Volvo's focus on safety includes personal safety and security, issues which are increasingly important in today's society. Volvo's Personal Car Communicator (PCC) was first demonstrated on the Volvo Safety Concept Car in 2001 and is an advanced, pocket-sized unit similar to a conventional remote control, but does a great deal more than activating locks and the alarm.

The PCC can tell if the all new S80 has been left locked or unlocked, if the alarm has been activated and uses a sensitive heartbeat sensor to tell if there is anyone in the car. The PCC will be able to access this information when it is within 100 metres of the car, or stores the most recent information so that the driver can check to see if the car was locked when it was parked.

Collision Warning and Brake Support

Volvo's research shows that many rear-end accidents happen because the driver is distracted or failed to react in time, which is why Volvo is introducing an advanced Collision Warning and Brake Support system to help avoid rear-end collisions, or at least minimise their effects.

The system uses a radar system to continuously monitor the area in front of the car so that if it approaches another moving car and the driver does not react it triggers an audible signal and a red warning light flashes on the windscreen.

If the driver brakes hard the system makes the brake lights flash to warn the drivers behind, but if the driver does not react to these alerts or start braking and the risk of a hitting the car in front increases, the Brake Support system hydraulically reinforces the brake pressure to provide effective braking. Even if this does not avoid the accident happening, it will certainly help reduce the force of any impact.

Advanced braking

To ensure the shortest possible braking distances for the all new S80, Volvo has developed an advanced braking system with new functions, including:

HBA: Hydraulic Brake Assist - it updates Volvo's EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) by using hydraulics to increase braking pressure when the driver brakes hard.

OHB: Optimised Hydraulic Brakes - reinforces the braking capacity in conjunction with hard braking to compensate for low vacuum pressure in the brake servo.

RAB: Ready Alert Brakes - can predict if the accelerator is released quickly or it the Adaptive Cruise Control registers an obstacle in front of the car and places the brake pads against the brake discs even before the driver hits the brake pedal.

FBS: Fading Brake Support - uses hydraulics to gradually build up braking pressure during constant braking to help reduce the risk of wear and retained pedal feeling.

Full prices and specifications are due to be released at the end of March, prior to the cars arriving in UK showrooms in June/July.

Published 2 March 2006 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Volvo S80 news article may have changed since publication on the 2 March 2006. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Volvo dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2018