Autoliv and Volvo Launch New Safety System

5 September 2000

    STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Autoliv Inc., a world-wide leader in automotive safety systems, and Volvo Car Corporation have introduced one of the world's first post-crash safety systems, "Volvo On Call."

    It is a crash-robust system that automatically calls the EMS (Emergency Medical Service) Center after a crash and gives the rescue team the exact location of the accident.

    So far, passive auto safety systems, such as airbags and seat belts, have mainly focussed on "in-crash" systems. These are systems that reduce the risks for injuries when a crash happens.

    "Now we are taking automotive safety one step further by introducing a system that is aimed at increasing the chances of surviving and mitigating the consequences of serious injuries once the accident has happened," said Jan Carlson, President of Autoliv Electronics, a division of Autoliv Inc. "The new concept represents a major step in Autoliv's 'Total Safety System Strategy' which is to offer products ranging from 'pre-crash' and 'in-crash' systems to "post-crash" systems," Mr. Carlson added.

    "The Volvo On Call System is also an example of how we are combining advanced safety systems with the latest capabilities in information technology and telecom to further increase safety for people in automobiles." The system's main components are a cellular telephone, a built-in GPS satellite position unit and a Multiplex communication unit. To resolve the concern of limited cellular coverage in certain areas in North America, an additional satellite data link is provided in these markets to assure uninterrupted access to the EMS centers. The sub-systems are integrated into one robust, easy-to-install unit, which is designed to withstand very severe crashes. The new system is the result of a joint development project between Volvo Car Corporation, Autoliv and the telecom company Ericsson.

Critical Minutes

    All available crash statistics show that the very first minutes after a serious crash are critical for an occupant's chances of surviving. That is why it is so important to have systems that call the EMS center automatically and immediately.

    In the Volvo On Call system the notification is made almost instantly with the deployment of any of the car's airbags. The car's electronic Multiplex system registers this deployment and forwards the information to the car's integrated telephone, which sends a text message to a Volvo On Call Alarm Center. In tandem, a voice line is opened so an operator at the alarm center can try to talk to the car occupants and find out more about the accident. If, however, no one in the car is able to answer, the operator can send an ambulance directly to the vehicle. The vehicle's location is provided by the car's GPS satellite navigation system and relayed as a part of the alarm text message.

    The whereabouts of the vehicle is continuously stored by the car's integrated telephone system (just as in a "black box" of an aircraft). The system will therefore always be able to give the rescue team the site of the crash, even if the GPS unit is destroyed and the communication with the GPS satellite is interrupted by the crash. The phone is, of course, collision-tested to cope with extremely high stresses. In addition, it has its own back-up system with an integrated antenna and an emergency battery. This allows it to contact the alarm center even in the unlikely event that the phone is disconnected from its cradle by a very violent crash.

    The driver can also press an SOS-button for alerting the alarm center in case of, for instance, an assault. There is also a button for road assistance if there is a car breakdown or traffic congestion and the driver wants to know the best way around it. Additionally, the system can be used for finding the car if it has been stolen. The alarm center can then obtain the location of the car, even if the phone is switched off. The owner can also get help if he has lost his car keys. By stating his security code, the alarm center can contact the car's electrical system and unlock the doors. The new Volvo On Call system is optional for the new Volvo S60, which had its world debut in August. The system can also be ordered in the Volvo S80, V70 and the Cross Country models.


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