Volvo's grand plan of a crash-free future has come one step closer with the Swedish carmaker revealing new architecture that it believes will help make its cars safer, sooner.
The SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) allows more innovations to be used across more models, and Volvo's bosses think it will improve its already impressive safety record.
The latest independent data from Strada (Swedish Traffic Accident Data Acquisition) shows Volvos have nearly 60 per cent lower injury rates compared to average - and Sweden has one of the world's lowest rates for injury in accidents.
"We retain our uncompromising attitude to offering superior crash protection," says Volvo safety specialist Jan Ivarsson.
"The new architecture opens up for further improvements. Seven per cent of the safety cage in the original XC90 was made of hot-formed boron steel. The structure in the upcoming all-new XC90 features over 40 per cent hot-formed steel, which translates into significantly improved strength but without adding mass or weight."
On top of metal changes, the SPA architecture includes a new modular electrical system that Volvo claims makes its vehicles markedly more intelligent.
It simplifies adding complicated functions and means that safety functions which can change quickly can be added far more easily, including sensor and camera combinations.
The new electric layout splits the car's internal network into four parts - vehicle dynamics, safety, body and infotainment - each with separate domain masters.
"Each master can be connected to every single unit in the whole architecture. This means that we have one single nerve system with full control over all the connections in the vehicle. This is unique in the industry," says Peter Mertens, senior vice-president of Volvo R&D.
It will open up a host of possibilities, even as far as measuring road friction and finding free parking spots.
Like Google, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, Volvo is pushing the envelope in terms of autonomous drive systems - and the new architecture will help to accelerate this.
"Allowing the car to act automatically is crucial when moving towards the vision that future cars will not crash at all. The technologies enabled by our new Scalable Product Architecture will bring us significantly closer to this ultimate goal," says Ivarsson.