Volvo’s unique Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) is a form of protection integrated into the front seats which supports the seat occupant’s entire back and head in a rear-end collision. This protective system cushions the movement through energy-absorbing deformation elements between the backrest and seat cushion. If a rear-end collision occurs, the backrest follows the occupant’s rearward movement in order to reduce the forces on the neck and spine.
This technology was introduced in 1998 on the Volvo S80 and WHIPS has been a standard feature on all Volvo models since 2000. According to Volvo’s Accident Research Team, this system reduces the long-term effects of whiplash injuries by half.
The new Euro NCAP evaluation procedure for whiplash protection consists of a number of different tests. Firstly, the seat’s geometry is measured, for example, the position of the head restraint, in order to determine how well the seat can protect against injuries in a collision. Three tests are then conducted in a testing rig with varying degrees of collision severity. This rig is used to simulate a situation in which a stationary car is subjected to a rear-end collision. Finally, the results are evaluated and the car is graded on a scale of red, orange and green where red is poor, orange is marginal and green is good.
“Our latest model, the Volvo XC60, performed well in all of the tests and was given an overall rating of green,” says Thomas Broberg, a safety expert at Volvo Cars.