At Volvo Autonomous Solutions, safety is our guiding principle – just as it was for the Volvo founders almost 100 years ago. Human error continues to be the leading cause of accidents on roads and worksites. With our autonomous transport solutions, our end goal is to eliminate the risk to human life on roads, quarries, and mining sites.
Safety is at the core of everything we do.
As part of our safety strategy, we define how much interaction our system has with other road users and categorise the complexity of the operation. This serves as a basis for verification and validation. For example, the need for testing and verification significantly increases in public areas compared to enclosed areas because the interaction with vehicles and humans increases. Our end goal is to create a system that can operate in any complexity and environment with a high degree of safety.
We take a holistic view on safety, ensuring it’s incorporated at every level and development stage. The way we reduce risks can take various forms: hardware or software safety requirements, design recommendations, and new procedures for operators interacting with vehicles.
We use strict test and verification processes until we’re confident our technology conforms to our rigorous safety standards. This includes simulations and real-world testing of trucks, vehicles, infrastructure, connectivity, and the cloud. Every single virtual and physical kilometre provides a wealth of data, enabling us to test multiple scenarios and learn from every eventuality to improve safety. This method of testing also allows us to combine our findings with previous knowledge to identify what we need to test for next. For a company operating within a cloud-based system, cyber security is a number one priority. That’s why we have the highest level of cyber preventions to ensure we can identify and prevent potential hacking attempts.
We offer an end-to-end autonomous transport solution that has safety embedded in every step. That means we take care of every aspect of the process from a safety point of view – from barriers on a test site, to the virtual driver controlling the vehicle. We also work with first responders to ensure we can react quickly in case of emergency. Even though we’re in a maturing world and regulations vary globally, we always conform to standards, regulations and have our own proprietary approach to safety in place.
When it comes to challenging the status quo and protecting lives, we have a reputation that’s almost a century old. When people were losing their lives in traffic, we invented the three-point safety belt – then gave away the patent for free to the industry. Since 1959, this is estimated to have saved over a million lives. We also developed the safest cab ever built in the history of Volvo Trucks with the Volvo FH. During its development, the Volvo FH was subjected to thousands of simulated collision tests and around one hundred real crash tests. It continues to protect drivers the world over. We see autonomous vehicle safety as an important next chapter in our journey.