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Driver-assistance technology is becoming an increasingly common car safety feature. One example is Volvo Pilot Assist, which the Swedish automaker includes in some of its models. The name clearly states what this advanced safety feature is supposed to do, but how does it work? Here’s what makes Pilot Assist effective and which Volvo models have it. 

Volvo Pilot Assist helps drivers stay safe on the road

Volvo Pilot Assist is a convenience and safety feature that helps keep the car in its lane and at a safe distance from the vehicles in front of it. The system does this by assisting with steering in specific situations and keeping the car at a preset speed via its acceleration and braking operations. 

Users can turn Pilot Assist on or off with the arrow keys on the steering wheel. Pressing the steering wheel button will confirm the launch of Pilot Assist. Icons on the driver’s display indicate when the feature is functioning and in what capacity. When the steering wheel icon in the middle is gray, Pilot Assist is running, but steering assistance is inactive. If the steering wheel icon is green, both are operating in tandem. 

According to Volvo, a few conditions must be met for Pilot Assist to engage. Here are the requirements: 

  • The driver must be wearing a seatbelt, and the driver’s door must be closed.
  • The lane’s edge markings must be clear and detectable by the car. If the car can’t identify the road lines, the steering assistance might drop in and out without warning.
  • The car must not exceed 87 mph.
  • The driver must keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times.

Other Volvo safety features

Pilot Assist is just one of the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) Volvo offers to minimize the risk of crashes. Here’s an overview of the other features:

  • Collision avoidance: This feature provides audio, visual, and brake pulse warnings when the driver is in danger of hitting a pedestrian, cyclist, or another vehicle. It can even force the car to brake automatically if a collision is imminent or the driver turns into the path of an oncoming vehicle. 
  • Lane-keeping aid: The lane-keeping aid constantly tracks the car’s position on the road. If the vehicle begins crossing a lane without using a turn signal, the ADAS will subtly steer the car back into its lane. If that isn’t enough, the steering wheel will vibrate to draw the driver’s attention. This feature activates at speeds of 40 mph or lower. 
  • Run-off road mitigation: This offers a similar function to the lane-keeping aid at higher speeds (between 40 and 87 mph). If the vehicle begins to stray off the road, this ADAS can activate the brakes. 
  • Cross-traffic alert with automatic braking: When the vehicle is reversing, the feature will warn the driver about approaching vehicles and automatically brake if a crash is imminent. 
  • Blind-spot information system: The BLIS is most useful in heavy traffic. It activates a light on the left or right door mirror when a car enters the driver’s blind spot or approaches quickly in a lane on either side of the vehicle. 
  • Surround-view camera: The driver can gain a greater understanding of the surroundings through these four HD cameras attached to the car. 
  • Connected safety: Real-time data is collected in the cloud and used to communicate with all connected vehicles about road conditions. The info is available through a driver display symbol or an optional head-up display.  

Which cars have Pilot Assist?

Volvo Pilot Assist advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS)
Volvo Pilot Assist rendering | Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo Pilot Assist is a standard feature in all new Volvo S90, XC90, V90, V90 Cross Country, V60, and V60 Recharge PHEV trims. It’s also a perk in upper trim levels of the rest of the brand’s lineup.  

For instance, Pilot Assist is included in the 2023 XC60 Recharge B5 Plus and Ultimate trims and the XC40 Twin Ultimate. 

Pilot Assist and other ADAS aren’t just bullet points to sell drivers on buying a Volvo. These tools work as advertised, helping Volvo vehicles earn plaudits as some of the safest cars.


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