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Techies 2009 - Best Car Safety Device: Volvo City Safety

Date: 25 August 2009

Highly Commended: Mercedes - Attention Assist

Best Car Safety Device was the most fought-over Techie with 14 entries, making it all the more impressive that the City Safety system from Volvo, the foremost car brand in safety, scooped this category.

At its most basic level City Safety stops you running into the car in front, at roundabouts for example, without any action from the driver.

Volvo's research shows 75% of all reported collisions take place at speeds up to 19mph. In 50% of those cases, the driver has not braked at all before the collision.

City Safety uses a laser integrated with the top of the windscreen, at the height of the rear-view mirror, to monitor traffic in front. It can detect vehicles and other objects up to six metres in front of the bumper. If the car is about to drive into the car in front, the XC60 applies the brakes itself. If an accident cannot be avoided, then at least the damage - and any potential injury - will be minimised. City Safety reduces the risk of injury to the occupants in the car in front and those in the vehicle itself, while also cutting repair costs.

It's this combined cleverness that cemented the win, because not only does it save lives and reduce injuries, but it lowers a fleet manager's paperwork and insurance Budget.

Highly Commended goes to Mercedes' Attention Assist system, which is similar to City Safety. It uses a system that stops people from sleep-driving by monitoring 70 different aspects of the car's behaviour. If the way the car is being driven fits with the profile of a drowsy or asleep driver, the system gives an audible and visual warning signal telling the driver to take a break. It's only the fact that the driver has to take action, rather than the car taking control, that means this system wasn't judged at the same level as Volvo's.