The upcoming Volvo EX90 all-electric SUV, the brand's new flagship and XC90 replacement, is rolling out its slow introduction in true Volvo style, focusing first on all its new safety technology.
And this week, Volvo announced a new series of seven radar sensors scattered throughout the interior of the new SUV that can detect sleeping animals, unbuckled children and even vehicle break-ins.
Volvo reports that US government statistics show that at least 900 children have died in the country since 1998 from being left in hot cars.
The automaker hasn't released figures for how many pets have been tragically lost, but the numbers are likely higher than you might think.
Now, the Swedish automaker, which has a legacy of prioritizing new safety features in its vehicles, wants to ensure that something like this never happens in a future Volvo.
Volvo EX90 Flagship EV
The seven new radar sensors are located in the overhead console, in the rear trunk, as well as alongside the roof-mounted reading lamps, and Volvo says the system can detect up to a sub-millimeter of movement inside when activated.
The main purpose of the radar system is to serve as a reminder alert that will activate if a pet or child is detected inside when the user goes to lock the vehicle.
If something is detected in motion, the driver is alerted and a reminder is displayed on the center console screen for verification.
Alternatively, Volvo said the system can be bypassed with an on-screen setting, and the climate control system can remain activated while parked with occupants inside.
“The way we've been developing security for decades is that we identify the need, and then we address that and try to understand the mechanisms. It all starts with understanding what the needs are. We've been aware of this for a long time, but we also want to have a good solution that appeals to the user. This technology is capable of detecting a sleeping child and pet, as well as any awake person, or anyone else, such as a mother-in-law, and now it does so with the accuracy we crave. Support when you need it, but not in your face when you don't ask for it,” said Lotta Jakobsson, Volvo Injury Prevention Specialist.
“While the occupant presence reminder is the most focused area, we are also using the sensors for more natural occupant movements. We are going to use it for the seat belt reminder functionality. We also use these sensors as input if someone is breaking into the car. It's almost imagination that brings the limitations, what you can do in the future, so of course we're looking into possible ways to improve other functions for customers,” said Volvo's Inner Perception Manager Gunnar Ohlsson.
The manager also said that a remote integration of mobile phone applications with the radar system is also a possibility for the future.
Volvo said this system will be standard on the EX90, which will be revealed in full on November 9 and will also appear on future models.
However, the radar array is a 60 GHz frequency, which some countries have not yet approved for automotive use, but Volvo says the technology will be used at least in the United States.