Volvo Cars is making its safety knowledge accessible in a central digital library which it urges the car industry to use, in the interest of safer roads for all.

Volvo Cars has launched Project E.V.A. to celebrate sixty years of sharing research into car safety, and also highlight inequality in terms of car safety development.

Most automakers still produce cars based exclusively on data from male crash test dummies. For this reason, women run a higher risk of getting injured in traffic than men, says Volvo.

The Volvo Accident Research Team has compiled real-world data since the 1970s to better understand what happens during a collision. In that data, women and men appear equally.

With the E.V.A. initiative, Volvo is making more than 40 years of research open to all carmakers.

“We have data on tens of thousands of real-life accidents, to help ensure our cars are as safe as they can be for what happens in real traffic,” says Lotta Jakobsson, professor and senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

“This means our cars are developed with the aim to protect all people, regardless of gender, height, shape or weight, beyond the ‘average person’ represented by crash test dummies.”

Volvo Cars’ research data shows women are more at risk for some injuries in a car crash. Differences in anatomy and neck strength between the average man and woman mean women are more likely to suffer from whiplash injuries.

Based on those studies and its own crash data, Volvo Cars created virtual crash test dummies to better understand these accidents and develop safety technologies to protect both men and women.

The first resulting technology was WHIPS whiplash protection introduced in 1998 that has contributed to the unique look of Volvo’s seats and head restraints.

Volvo’s safety innovations adopted as industry standards include three point seatbelts, rear facing child seats, side impact protection system (SIPS), side airbags and inflatable curtains.

More recently, Volvo Cars’s research data showed an issue with lumbar spine, or lower back, injuries across all people, regardless of gender and size.

Further analysis and study made Volvo focus on the dangers of run-off road injuries. The resulting technology, introduced first on the XC90 and now on all SPA-based cars, is an energy absorber in the seats that goes far beyond what is a regulatory requirement for car makers.

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