The Volvo EX90 Will Keep an Eye on the Driver

·3 min read
Photo credit: Volvo
Photo credit: Volvo
  • Volvo gets ready to unveil the electric successor to the XC90, badged EX90, in November of this year ahead of the start of sales in 2023.

  • The Volvo EX90 will feature advanced driver monitoring systems that will analyze driver attention and notify the driver if needed.

  • New electric model is also expected to feature SAE Level 3 driver-assist tech with LiDAR and other sensors, allowing for eyes-off, hands-off automated driving where suitable and permitted.

The Volvo brand has been synonymous with safety for decades, and almost every major vehicle debut from the automaker manages to raise the bar when it comes to safety technology. The upcoming EX90 electric SUV will be no different when it lands here in 2023, arriving at a time when safety technology is more than just about the airbag count, as it was 20 years ago, and when autonomous tech and driver-assist systems are advancing faster than legislation can keep up with them.

Volvo's EX90, scheduled to be revealed November 9 ahead of its market launch next year, will seek to raise the bar when it comes to driver attention monitoring systems, and not just because its Ride Pilot will be a Level 3 system that allow drivers to take their eyes off the road. For all those times when Ride Pilot will not be in use, driver attention is still crucial.

"It’s a car designed to understand you and its surroundings to help keep you, your loved ones and others in traffic safe. It can also get smarter and safer over time, as it learns from new data and receives updates," the automaker says.

The EX90, previewed above by the 2021 Recharge concept, will feature cameras and sensors with the automaker's own algorithms that will be able to track driver concentration and eye gaze, with the system noticing if the driver becomes tired, distracted, or inattentive. The system will first alert the driver with a soft nudge, and if needed will take other steps to alert them. Even if the driver falls asleep or becomes ill, the system will be able to safely slow the car down and call for help.

Photo credit: Volvo
Photo credit: Volvo

"The development of our latest safety technology is based on understanding human behavior, rooted in decades of our own and others’ safety research. Every one of us is likely to experience or be affected by at least one car crash in our lifetime," Volvo adds.

The driver attention monitoring system will also be a part of Ride Pilot, which will be a Level 3 driver-assist system allowing drivers to take their eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel for prolonged periods, when road conditions allow it. And that's the main difference between Level 2 and Level 3 systems: The latter permit the driver to divert their attention from the road completely, short of going to sleep, but be ready to reassume control within a certain span of time when the system requests it.

Volvo and Polestar will have one of the first Level 3 systems on the market if not the first, making advances in driver attention monitoring technology a priority. But they're not the only safety system that will see progress when the EX90 arrives, as Volvo has other cards up its sleeve.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned