Detroit—Volvo's new Safety Concept Car (SCC) is built around the human eye. Volvo SCC project director Erling Pedersen believes that sitting properly and optimizing the driver's visibility of what's going on outside the car are matters of safety. "By improving visibility, you improve safety," he says.
Using a sensor that scans and detects the position of the driver's eyes, the SCC automatically sets the appropriate seating position for the best possible visibility. Next, the steering wheel, pedals, and center console adjust to suit the driver's reach, but drivers can make additional adjustments if desired.
Johnson Controls Inc. (Milwaukee, WI) worked with Volvo to develop the first adjustable seat, pedal box, and software system for an adjustable center console and steering wheel. Johnson Controls also supported development of a "non-distracting" human-machine interface. "There is so much technology in cars today that's potentially distracting," says Pedersen. "We wanted to make a car that distracts the driver's vision as little as possible," he adds.
Software supplied by Johnson Controls controls the radio, compact disc player, heating and air conditioning unit, navigation system, communication system, and other technologies. Video displays are located in the instrument panel gauge cluster and center stack. Controls are located in both the steering wheel and on the adjustable center console.
Additional features on the SCC that improve visibility include active rear-view mirrors that alert drivers when another car is in the driver's blind spot; pillars redesigned with a "see-through" truss structure; rearward facing cameras; a night vision system; and adaptive lights that adjust the light's beam based on the car's speed. Ford Motor Co. also participated in development of the SCC.