Seeking to move closer to its stated goal of having no one in a new Volvo vehicle killed or seriously injured by 2020, the automaker has opened AstaZero, a state-of-the-art evaluation facility focused on developing next-gen active safety systems that will help prevent accidents. Beyond enhancing existing conventional solutions, AstaZero's efforts include work on autonomous driving technology as well as seeking new ways to improve overall driver attentiveness behind the wheel and more effectively recognize early signs of operator fatigue. 

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AstaZero CEO Peter Wallin believes the new facility's comprehensive character gives it a unique advantage over most other manufacturer proving grounds. In addition to duplicating everything from city streets to open motorways and a full range of surface/weather conditions, Volvo's new facility also allows development engineers to see how its cars and trucks interact in real-world situations with other vehicles, people and animals - including the automaker's famed moose-evasion challenge. 

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"Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems," says Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Center. "The facility will play several important roles. Not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don't crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists."

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