Volvo has detailed its new ‘flexible’ proving ground, as its latest step in a campaign to see no deaths or serious injuries in a new Volvo by 2020.
The Swedish carmaker claims the new facility, called AstaZero (Active Safety Test Area), is the world’s first full-scale proving ground for “future traffic safety solutions”.
AstaZero is located close to Volvo’s HQ in western Sweden, and can be transformed to simulate everything from a rural back road to an inner city environment.
Volvo will use the new facility primarily to test its current and future active safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure (V2V and V2I) technology and fully self-driven vehicles.
Detecting animals, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists will be a focus of the testing program, with Volvos in some instances being driven by robots.
When robots aren’t behind the wheel, driver distraction and fatigue will also be studied.
AstaZero covers two million square metres in total area and has a 5.7km highway, four city ‘blocks’, a high-speed circle and a multilane road; built at a cost of AU$78 million.
“The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety - thanks to AstaZero, we have great prospects for keeping our leading position,” Volvo’s Anders Axelson said.
“We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.”
Volvo admits its 2020 target is an ambitious one, but claims its current technology, future developments and now a new testing facility give the carmaker every reason to be optimistic.
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