Volvo S60 prototype: the 'official scoop'

Published: 15 October 2009

Last week CAR scooped Volvo’s new S60, and these are the first pictures of the new Swede out testing in Copenhagen. These spyshots are actually Volvo’s own pictures, and are part of a tease to get us all excited about its new 3-series rival.

The new S60 was, according to Volvo, ‘rolling through the streets of the Danish capital in order to test a groundbreaking new safety technology that can detect a pedestrian in front of the car and brake automatically if the driver doesn’t react in time, to avoid an accident’.

Presumably Volvo trialled the system with dummies before putting it in a live test in a busy city?

Yes, it’s all been rigorously checked in the safety of private testing grounds – including the use of ‘Bob’, a crash test dummy whose job it is to erratically pop out in front of cars. and these shots are more of a publicity stunt. However, it does give us a glimpse of the new tech that will debut on next year’s all-new S60.

The 2010 S60 will come with (deep breath) Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, a development of the City Safety system on the XC60. The previous system mitigated against collisions with other vehicles, but now the new tech can detect pedestrians and work at higher speeds.

‘The previous stages were developed to help the driver avoid collisions with other vehicles,’ says Volvo’s senior safety advisor Thomas Broberg, ‘Now we are taking a giant step forward with a function that also boosts safety for unprotected road users. What is more, we are advancing from 50% to full automatic braking power.’

The S60 has a dual-mode radar unit in the grille and a camera in the rear-view mirror that continuously monitor the road ahead, with the radar detecting objects and the camera determining what they are. In an emergency there’s an initial audible and visual warning, the latter designed to look like a brake light coming on. After that, if there’s no response from the driver and the collision is imminent, the car’s full braking power is applied.

It’s one step towards Volvo’s goal: that by 2020 no-one should be killed or seriously injured in one of the company’s cars.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy