Volvo_03At the Geneva Auto Show this week, Volvo announced what it's calling a worldwide first: Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto braking. As its name suggests, it will fully apply the brakes for you to keep you from hitting bikers or walkers who suddenly appear in your path. Here’s technology that can’t come quickly enough for bicyclists: according to Volvo, 50 percent of all cyclists killed on European roads have collided with a car.

The new technology is going to be added to 2014 models equipped with Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake—a system that first came out on Volvos in 2010. Volvo’s original brake-support technology was introduced in 2006, so the automaker has been at it for a while.

Models that will get the new system include the 2014 S60, XC60, XC70, and S80, Volvo said.

How It Works

The system includes a dual-mode radar unit integrated into the grille, a high-resolution camera in front of the interior rearview mirror, and a control unit. The radar detects objects and calculates their distance from the car. The camera watches the motion pattern of cyclists and pedestrians. It’s possible now because quicker vision processing and advanced software allow Volvo’s detection technology to be applied to cyclists and not just cars. The cyclist needs to be headed in the same direction as the vehicle. If a bike swerves out in front of the moving car, an instant warning sounds, and full brakes are applied automatically.

Volvo marketing chief Doug Speck says the new tech is another step toward Volvo’s “long-term vision to design cars that do not crash.”