Volvo drivers’ experiences with advanced crash avoidance and related technologies

Eichelberger, Angela H. / McCartt, Anne T.
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP) Master File
February 2014

Objective: Crash avoidance technologies can potentially prevent or mitigate many crashes, but their success depends in part on driver acceptance. Owners of 2010–2012 model Volvo vehicles with several technologies were interviewed about their experiences.
Methods: Interviews were conducted in summer 2012 with 155 owners of vehicles with City Safety as a standard feature; 145 owners with an optional technology package that included adaptive cruise control, distance alert, collision warning with full auto brake (and pedestrian detection on certain models), driver alert control, and lane departure warning; and 172 owners with both City Safety and the technology package. The survey response rates were 21 percent for owners with City Safety, 30 percent for owners with the technology package, and 27 percent for owners with both. Ten percent of owners opted out before the telephone survey began, and 18 percent declined to participate when called.
Results: Despite some annoyance, most respondents always leave the systems on, although fewer do so for lane departure warning (59%). For each of the systems, at least 80 percent of respondents with the system would want it on their next vehicle. Many respondents reported safer driving habits with the systems (e.g., following less closely with adaptive cruise control, using turn signals more often with lane departure warning). Fewer respondents reported potentially unsafe behavior, such as allowing the vehicle to brake for them at least some of the time. About one third of respondents experienced autonomous braking when they believed they were at risk of crashing, and about one fifth of respondents thought it had prevented a crash. About one fifth of respondents with the technology package reported that they were confused or misunderstood which safety system had activated in their vehicle.
Conclusions: Consistent with the results for early adopters in the previous survey of Volvo and Infiniti owners, the present survey found that driver acceptance of the technologies remains high, although less so for lane departure warning. This study is the first to report drivers’ experiences with City Safety, a collision avoidance system provided as standard equipment on certain Volvo 2010–2012 models, and driver acceptance of this system was high, although not to the same extent as the optional forward collision avoidance system. Future research should continue to monitor drivers’ experiences with these technologies as they become available in more vehicles.