So you think you can drive


Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

DRIV­ING a new car can make you a bet­ter driver. Well, it can if your name is Alan Des­selss and the car in ques­tion is the Volvo XC60.

Des­selss is the head of Volvo Cars and could have a bar­row to push on his com­pany’s new pres­tige SUV, but once you hear him talk­ing you re­alise he is se­ri­ous about safety in the XC.

‘‘I thought I was a pretty good driver, but I must have been wrong,’’ he says.

‘‘I got sick of all the bells and lights pretty quickly. They were all telling me I was do­ing some­thing wrong.’’

Volvo al­ready has a yel­low warn­ing light on its blind-spot radar, but the XC60 picks up the pace with a ‘‘drowsi­ness’’ in­di­ca­tor and a radar safety sys­tem that warns when you are too close to the ve­hi­cle in front.

The ‘‘City Safety’’ sys­tem will even take action, ap­ply­ing the brakes au­to­mat­i­cally, if it thinks you are go­ing to bump some­thing in traf­fic run­ning at less than 30km/h.

Oh, and there is also a ‘‘lane de­par­ture’’ sys­tem which is trig­gered if you wan­der be­tween the road mark­ings without sig­nalling a lane change.

‘‘I re­alised I must have been a bit lazy. But you know how it is,’’ Des­selss says.

‘‘I’m not alone. One of my staff got a warn­ing when they looked down at their mo­bile phone to check an in­com­ing text and the ve­hi­cle started to move out of the lane.’’

The safety fea­tures of the XC60 are just what we would ex­pect from Volvo, which has had a safety fo­cus since it was founded in the 1920s.

BMW and Benz are do­ing sim­i­lar work in sev­eral fields and cars with more and more driveras­sist fea­tures are go­ing to be com­mon in com­ing years.

Thank­fully, no one has plans to build a car that can drive it­self, so the tech­nol­ogy, warn­ings, lights and alarms are all in­tended to make us do our driv­ing bet­ter.

Just like Des­selss.

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