Pedestrian friendly

* Volvo's Project Zero * Safer and green cars * Plans to cut fatalities to zero...

Pedestrian friendly

Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection (CWFABPD as we'll call it from now on) doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but in the time it takes to read out the name, it could have spotted a pedestrian in the road and brought your car to a complete halt.

Volvo already has systems that can avoid crashes with other cars City Safe is standard on the XC60 but the ability to spot people is new.

Available from next year at an as yet to be determined price CWFABPD uses a sophisticated radar system and camera to monitor the road ahead.

If you continue to drive towards any pedestrians that it detects, the system warns you with a buzzer and a flashing red light on the inside of the windscreen.

If you still do not react, the car will brake. If you're travelling at 15mph or less it will bring the car to a complete halt, avoiding the collision and saving everyone a lot of grief.

If you're going faster, then the system can reduce the impact speed by 15mph, although when we tried the system on a bright, dry day, it managed to stop us completely when we were travelling at nearly 20mph.

It's very impressive, but like the CitySafe system already standard on the current XC60 SUV, it doesn't work in all conditions and can be affected by the weather.

Anything that helps to avoid collisions with pedestrians, which account for 14% of road fatalities in the EU, has to be welcomed, though, especially considering that, as Volvo claims, 47% of drivers do absolutely nothing before a collision.

Add the fact that 50% of accidents occur at below 15mph, then CWFABPD is to be applauded. If only every car could have it.

The system is part of Volvo's long-term goal that no-one should be killed or injured by one of its cars. In the meantime, it's aiming to ensure that no-one is killed or injured in one of its cars by 2020. On the evidence of this kind of technology it's certainly on the right track.