Volvo, Steel & Safety
Anyone who has anything to do with the steel industry ought to go out and buy a Volvo right now.
This is not just because it will help the company out in the U.S. market, where it finished 2013 with deliveries of 61,233 vehicles, off 10.1% compared to 2012.
Volvo V40 crashed
No, it because the company, which is reemphasizing its heritage—safety—all the way to the extent of pursuing a vision that by 2020 “no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo” is making the point that steel is contributing to such things as receiving 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ratings for its S80, S60, and XC90.
Thomas Broberg, senior safety advisor at Volvo Cars, stated, “Our safety cage features a robust design with a blend of different steel qualities. The new IIHS test program confirms the exceptional crashworthiness of this patented solution. Similar mixtures of steel qualities are used in all current Volvo models and the technology will be further enhanced in the upcoming models developed on our Scalable Product Architecture.”
Sure, almost all auto manufacturers are touting their use of high- and ultra-high-strength steels, but rarely have I seen such a definitive statement vis-à-vis the virtues of the ferrous materials.
Of course, it is not all about steel.
Volvo has had a leadership position in front crash prevention systems, with its City Safety and Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake.
Volvo S80 not crashed
Volvo offers City Safety as standard on all its new cars (with the exception of the XC90, but this is only because it is an older platform that isn’t compatible—but a new XC90 is coming later this year, and you can be confident it will have every safety tech in Volvo’s extensive suite). This is a system that operates at speeds up to 19 mph. It uses a laser-based sensor that detects vehicles up to 6 meters ahead. There is a processor that runs 50 calculations per second, determining whether the vehicle is going to crash into the car ahead and does things ranging from alerting the driver to, when the driver is inattentive to the audible and visible warnings, stopping the car.
Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake makes use of forward looking radar and a digital camera. Its functionality is pretty much described by its name.
Steel and smarts. Seems like a safe combination.
For the high-performance Corvette Z06 GM defied tradition and switched from a steel to an aluminum frame.
How carbon fiber is utilized is as different as the vehicles on which it is used. From full carbon tubs to partial panels to welded steel tube sandwich structures, the only limitation is imagination.
If automotive tire upstart Amerityre can perfect its polyurethane tires, we may soon have to revise the phrase "where the rubber meets the road."