Volvo is confident that there will come a day when worldwide road accident statistics will be... zero.
Jan Ivarsson, Volvo's manager of traffic safety analysis, said: 'I don't think that vision is unrealistic.
'Over the past 30 years, we have dramatically reduced the number of fatalities, and we are still moving in the right direction. We simply don't want to accept road accidents and I think we will move into a situation where there are zero accidents in future.'
This week, at a safety seminar in Norway, the Swedish company unveiled a number of safety systems designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by human error.
New auto steering system
The most radical of all is a system called Collision Avoidance by Auto Steering, designed to cut down the number of head-on collisions.
It's a further development of the company's Lane Departure Warning system, which warns the driver when the car crosses lane markings.
The Auto Steering set-up is significantly more advanced, however. It uses a camera and radar monitor and steers the car automatically if it senses that it is on a collision course with oncoming traffic.
The system is still being developed, but Volvo experts reckon it could become a common safety feature on cars in a few years' time.
'Platoons' of Volvos
The company is also working on a car-to-car communication system, which will enable traffic to travel in 'platoons' of 10 to 15 cars.
Computer technology will allow cars to communicate effectively with others, enabling them to travel at close proximity behind a lead vehicle.
This means each car closely tracks the vehicle in front, adjusting speed automatically as the lead car accelerates and decelerates.
The idea of 'platooning' is to increase safety, ease congestion and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by cutting wind resistance.
Volvo says it is feasible, but added that it is a long way from becoming reality.
More safety systems
The seminar also included a demonstration of Volvo's Collision Warning with Auto Brake (CWAB) - a system where the car brakes automatically when a rear-end collision is imminent - and Driver Alert, a feature that warns a driver to take a break when they start getting tired.
These two systems, along with Lane Departure Warning, will be available in the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70 at the end of 2007, and they are expected to cost about £1200 as an option package.
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