Volvo open a purpose built safety proving facility to help prevent road accidents.

Volvo have always had a reputation for making their cars as safe as possible. In line with the Swedish government, they have vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured by a new Volvo car. To help realise this vision, Volvo have set up a new $80 million testing facility that incorporates everything from neighbourhood streets to motorways.

Named AstaZero, the facility is designed to help Volvo develop their active safety systems and can simulate nearly all driving scenarios through the use of multiple cars, lorries, bicycles, mopeds and even dummy pedestrians and animals. Active safety systems combine sensor technology, vehicle communication and on-board computers; compensating for the 'human factor' that is the main cause of many incidents.

The vast testing environment is split into multiple different areas and offers Volvo the chance to test their systems in all types of environments. A 5.7km highway is connected to a large city environment that incorporates four districts and life-like city streets and shops. These two areas combine with a further rural road area to create an extensive testing zone. As certain tests can be dangerous, especially the high speed and complex traffic tests, an indoor area allows Volvo to run intricate simulations before heading onto the test track for real life testing with robotic drivers.

Anders Axelson, Volvo Cars Safety Centre spokesperson, said:

“Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our safety systems. The facility will play several important roles: not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don't crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists."

AstaZero operates as a collaboration between various parties, ranging from Academia, industry and authority partners. AstaZero's industry partners include – Volvo car group, Volvo Group, Scania, Autoliv and Test Site Sweden.

Images © AstaZero