The brand-new Volvo EX90 EV SUV will obsess over your face in 2024

Suji Sugathan
Sep 22, 2022

The new sensor suite and driver monitoring system for the all-new EX90 electric SUV are being previewed by Volvo. In the name of saving lives, Volvo is on a mission to improve vehicle safety through cutting-edge new technologies and to become an entirely carbon-free carmaker.

The Volvo EX90, a brand-new, all-electric flagship SUV, will debut in this November (it was once going to be called Embla, and will eventually replace the current XC90 three-row SUV). In order to improve its assisted driving and safety features, the EX90 will come equipped with a new set of sensors both inside and outside the vehicle. Volvo, however, is revealing early information on its new safety suite of technology before we have a chance to look at it. 

Exterior Sensors

Eight cameras, five radars, 16 ultrasonic sensors, a forward-facing LiDAR, and other sophisticated sensors will be available on the new Volvo EX90. Together, the system continuously scans the surroundings of the car, forming what Volvo terms a "invisible" 360-degree safety shield. The LiDAR technology then produces a 3D model of the road in front of the car. 

The LiDAR system on the EX90 will be installed in an equipment pod on the roof above the windshield, giving it the best possible position for detection. It will be able to map pedestrians up to 250 metres, or roughly 820 feet, away. Up to 120 metres, or approximately 390 feet, in advance, Volvo claims that this new advanced system will be able to see difficult-to-find objects, such a black tyre on a dark road at night. According to Volvo, all of its future vehicles will come equipped with the new LiDAR and sensor suite. According to the business, the technology might lower crashes overall by 9% and cut serious crashes by up to 20%. 

Joachim de Verdier, head of Safe Vehicle Automation at Volvo Cars, admitted to MotorTrend that there were quite a few challenges for the design team trying to integrate the new safety technology, who weren't initially fans of the rooftop application. Despite the fact that the design will be fully revealed this November. If the LiDAR sensors were mounted any lower, it would be "like having eyes in your knees." The safety engineering team ultimately got what it asked for, but the design team put a lot of effort into integrating the technology and keeping it functional as a Volvo design. 

Driver Understanding

Volvo has other plans. Two new cameras facing the driver for what Volvo calls its "Driver Understanding" monitoring system are among the new technologies found inside the EX90. After a few period, the car will start to urge the driver and passengers to pay attention to the road ahead. The two cameras monitor the driver's face and eyes for any symptoms of distraction, drowsiness, or any other inattentiveness. A single camera situated behind the steering wheel was frequently blocked by the driver's hand or arm, so engineers decided to install a second off to the side. Volvo claims this was not done for stereoscope vision or anything similar. 

In an interview with MotorTrend, Volvo technical specialist Mikael Aust stated that studies showed most drivers retain awareness and gaze forward about 80% of the time they are driving. Volvo claims to have built allowances for "normal variances" in eye movement. The new Driver Understanding system will also determine whether a driver has been staring too far ahead, which may be a sign that they have become disoriented and their attention is wandering from the task at hand. The device also makes use of a capacitive touch steering wheel to track the movements of the driver and when they release the wheel. If there is no response, the vehicle will flash its hazards and be able to chime warnings with increasing severity. 

Aside from any necessary accident recording devices, Volvo claims that the driver monitoring system will not capture any pictures or videos of the driver. The system requires a live feed of the driver's face, but it has no need to save any of that information; doing so would only add to the car's already-limited data storage space without serving any useful purpose. Furthermore, the technology won't be used at first for any other functions like facial recognition or monitoring of human vital signs, but other Volvo teams could come up with different applications for the driver monitoring camera in the future. 

The new sensor suite and interior monitoring system are significant milestones on Volvo's path to eventually launching a completely autonomous system, which the company still claims is at least a few years away. According to Thomas Broberg, Acting Head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre, "We've made remarkable progress on exterior sensing in the recent decades, thanks to our dedicated work on crash prevention systems." "One of our newest safety frontiers is interior sensing. As our expertise grows and evolves, we will gradually create and implement new features to further improve safety." 

  • 2024 Volvo EX90 Flagship EV SUV
  • Exterior Sensors (Light Detection and Ranging)
  • Thomas Broberg
  • Acting Head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre
  • Driver Understanding monitoring system EX90

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