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Volvo is an automaker committed to vehicle safety, setting an ambitious target for itself: by 2020, the Swedish automaker envisions that no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its cars. In order to achieve that goal, Volvo has announced a new proving ground designed specifically to test safety solutions.
Called AstaZero, the new facility near the company's headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, is the result of a $70 million investment. It will cover some 500 acres, with over 60 acres of pavement, four city blocks and three and a half miles of highway. The Active Safety Test Area (the ASTA in AstaZero) will enable Volvo and its partners (including Scania trucks as well as government bodies and university development programs) to simulate city streets, highways, rural roads, roundabouts, T-junctions and more, combining traffic from cars, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, trucks and even animals in order to account for all manner of potential hazards.
The facility will enable Volvo to test active safety systems and autonomous vehicle operations, and even allow robots to test its prototypes in an adaptive environment that aims to be more flexible than existing proving grounds. Read more about Volvo's commitment to safety in the press release below.
We all know how safe Volvo cars are, but a European junkyard has decided to put it to the test by crashing, jumping and rolling the life out of an 850 wagon. While government tests use automated systems to crash new cars, the guys in this video do so with a driver behind the wheel. Aside from what looks like a safety harness and roll bar for the driver, it seems like this car is otherwise bone stock.
Not wanting to spoil the fun for you, we'll just point out that at the start of the video, our hero car looks pretty flawless, and by the end, well, let's just say the Craigslist ad for the car would say "needs some body work." Check out the video below to watch some stunts that even the Duke Boys might shy away from.
Volvo already announced the results of a study of wireless charging using a stationary C30, and now it's embarking on a more ambitious study of wireless charging involving moving city buses. Next year, in conjunction with the Swedish Transport Association, Volvo will build a section of electric road up to 500 meters long that would use inductive charging to refill the batteries while the bus drives over it.
Right now, the company's Hyper Bus diesel hybrid has to stop to plug in and charge at the end of its route. The company is looking for a way to keep buses in service while being able to run on electric power for greater lengths of time. The new line used for the study will be called ElectriCity, and will come online in central Gothenburg sometime in 2015. There's a press release below with more information.