Car device acts on potential risks

Car device acts on potential risks

Volvo has launched a "smart braking" device it says could save hundreds of lives.

The revolutionary in-car camera and radar-guided technology scans for cyclists and automatically brakes if it senses an approaching collision. It hits the streets in May.

The announcement comes shortly after The Times reported that the number of cyclists killed on Britain's road hit a five-year high of 122 in 2012.

A radar scanner in the grille, a camera fitted in front of the rear-view mirror and an onboard computer pinpoints cyclists who swerve into the vehicle's path.

The radar measures the closeness to any suspicious object. The camera compares its shape and size against an electronic visual catalogue of thousands of images - including bikes and cyclists.

The system responds by braking, then gives the motorist a noisy warning and a row of red warning lights flash up on the windscreen.

Volvo hopes the "smart brake" system will soon become as accepted a part of the motorists' routine as setting thejourney planner or turning on the air-con.

The system, called "Cyclist Detection with full auto brake" but already nicknamed "cycle scan", was unveiled at Switzerland's Geneva Motor Show this week.

Copyright Press Association 2013