Rather than offer a sneak peek of design or powertrain for Volvo Cars’ upcoming battery-electric EX90, CEO Jim Rowan is focusing on the premium CUV’s safety credentials ahead of its planned Nov. 9 launch.
Chief among the technology is its comprehensive, not to say expensive, suite of sensors normally seen only on fully autonomous test mules so far. The suite will include cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors and lidar in the vehicle’s roofline.
“With state-of-the-art sensors and software, our next car will be able to see the world in point-cloud,” Rowan says. “These sensors are powered by Volvo Cars’ unique combination of advanced core computing and software to enable improvement in safety in a digital age. The safety standard in our next car will be beyond any Volvo car before.”
The car’s monitoring of its outside environment will be mirrored by monitoring inside the cabin to ensure the driver is fit to drive at any given time.
“We want to help people become better drivers by being there when they are not at their very best,” Rowan explains, adding the EX90 is “Born electric, born with lidar – the start of a new era of electrification and safety. All Volvo EX90s will come with an invisible shield of safety, a unique combination of the latest technology powered by the understanding of the car’s outside environment and the state of the driver inside.”
He notes the lidar will be able to cope with a variety of driving conditions. “It’s not just any lidar because they are not all the same,” Rowan says. “Our lidar senses the road in front of you in daylight or complete darkness at highway speeds. Something small and unreflective as a black tire on a black road at 120 meters (394 ft.) ahead, or a pedestrian at 250 meters (820 ft.).
“We will learn…our software powered by lidar perception can reduce accidents resulting in serious injury or death by up to 20% and overall crash avoidance by up to 9%.”
Its spy-in-the-cab technology will deploy a radar sensor driven by Volvo-designed algorithms that claim to detect distraction, tiredness or other forms of lack of concentration. Rowan says, “The car will alert you and, in a worst-case scenario should you fall ill or fall asleep, the car is designed to stop safely and call for help.
“This is the start of something new for Volvo Cars,” he says. “It’s an important next step in the journey to explore the future of safety for the protection of your life, for future lives and for the life you want to lead.”
The EX90 will be the successor to the XC90 CUV as Volvo Cars’ flagship.