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Volvo debuts new safety features for cars

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Ajit Solanki/AP/File

(Read caption) Volvo Cars Vice President Thomas Andersson, left, and Volvo Auto India Managing Director Tomas Ernberg pose for photographs during the opening of the company’s first showroom in Ahmadabad, India, earlier this year. The struggling automobile maker is introducing three new safety features to its cars, saying it hopes by 2020, it will eliminate serious injuries and deaths in Volvo cars.

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No doubt about it: Volvo has had a rough couple of years. After being sold to Chinese automaker Geely in 2010, the brand has struggled to regain its footing.

Whether that's due to the shift in administration, a slowdown in research and development, lackluster quality scores, or a general lack of enthusiasm for Volvo vehicles is debatable. What we do know is that Volvo is one of a tiny handful of brands that's faring worse in 2013 than it did in 2012. As of June 30, Volvo had only sold 32,578 vehicles in the U.S., putting it 5.9 percent below last year's stats.

But we're not counting Volvo out just yet. (Heck, if Mitsubishi is still kicking, anything's possible.) For decades, the Swedish brand has based its reputation on safety, so it's only appropriate that snazzy safety features sit at the core of Volvo's planned comeback.

The automaker recently debuted three new safety features that should begin appearing on Volvo models in late 2014. It's all part of Volvo's plan to completely eliminate deaths and serious injuries for occupants of its vehicles by the year 2020. The features are:

Pedestrian detection in darkness
 Volvo bills this as a "world first", though Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota have all unveiled similar technology, incorporated into self-dimming headlights. Still, it's a great feature, and one that fits well with Volvo's reputation of being highly pedestrian-friendly. (According to a press release, Volvo's long-awaited animal-detection system should roll out soon after this.)

Road edge and barrier detection with steer assist
 We've seen plenty of lane-assist features that alert drivers when they cross over the center line. This detection system focuses on the edge of the road, helping to steer the car back toward center -- even on roads without markings on the outer edges. 

Adaptive Cruise Control with steer assist
 Many brands have unveiled Adaptive Cruise Control systems, but given their importance as safety features, adding one more automaker to the list seems like a good thing. 

These three features should debut on the 2015 Volvo XC90 during the latter half of 2014. For more info, check out the video embedded above and the two below.


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