When Volvo launches its new XC60 compact 4x4 towards the end of this year, the car will carry a new crash-avoidance system as standard.
Called City Safe, it will eventually feature in all Volvos, and is aimed at reducing low-speed collisions in urban settings or in heavy traffic.
Volvo says the system will work at speeds of under 30kph (18.6mph), where studies have shown that over 70% of accidents occur.
It uses a laser mounted in front of the rear-view mirror to monitor an area six metres in front of the car, and if it detects that the driver is getting too close to the car in front, it pre-tenses the brake pedal and then fully applies the brakes if the distance doesn't increase.
A more sophisticated version of the system is already available as an option on the V70 - it works at higher speeds, but is too expensive to fit as standard.
Volvo sharing technology
Volvo is sharing some of its safety technology with other manufacturers through EU initiatives, particularly in the field of communications between vehicles.
This will let cars send messages to each other about potential hazards, such as heavy braking or cars emerging from side roads.
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