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Ouch! Volvo's test car crashed into a truck during the demonstration.  (Source: YouTube)

An unblemished Volvo S60
Volvo gets egg on its face with Collision Warning System Demo

It's no secret that computers and advanced electronics are seemingly taking over many functions in today's vehicles. Volvo was happy to show off its latest technological advancements this week in Sweden and invited a score of journalists to watch the demonstration.

What Volvo didn't count on, however, was that the demonstration would be a failure.

Volvo was supposed to demonstrate how the its new S60 near-luxury sedan would avoid a stopped or slower moving obstacle in the direct path of the vehicle. Volvo's Collision Warning System is similar to other systems found in more expensive Lexus and Mercedes models.

Unfortunately for Volvo, the test went horribly wrong. After being hurtled down the test track at 30 mph towards a stopped truck, the Collision Warning System failed to function properly. So instead of applying the brakes to stop the vehicle from hitting the obstacle, the S60 instead kept going full speed ahead right into the back of the truck.

According to Wired, Volvo claims that the resultant crash was due to human error in prepping the vehicle.

However, it wasn't a total loss with regards to the failed braking test -- the passenger compartment of the S60 was left untouched and the windshield didn't even crack from the 30 mph collision -- so at least Volvo's reputation of building strong safety cages is still intact.

You can watch video of the failed demonstration here.

The all-new S60 will launch here in North America this fall and will be made available with a 300 hp / 325 lb-ft, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine.


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RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By PerfectOne on 5/7/2010 3:10:48 PM , Rating: -1
Your missing the point of the technology. The best of people make mistakes. The goal of the technology is to prevent an accident when the HUMAN makes a mistake. i.e. important phone call, someone in the car driving you nuts.

And shame on Volvo for not being prepared if that was the case. i.e. forgeting to turn the system on

RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By jRaskell on 5/7/2010 3:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
i.e. important phone call, someone in the car driving you nuts.

Wow, those were easily two of the WORST i.e.'s you could have used for your 'examples'.
The goal of the technology is to prevent an accident when the HUMAN makes a mistake.

the trouble with suchs goals is that too many humans tend to become reliant on such technology instead of relying on themselves. All these technologies still currently depend on the human driver themselves as the primary safety mechanism. A bad driver will STILL be a bad driver no matter how many safety systems are in place to compensate for the bad driving.

For example, anti-lock brakes have pretty much allowed virtually every common driver to get by without knowing any sort of proper braking technique whatsoever. While this may seem perfectly acceptable on the surface, anybody that has taken a serious defensive driving course knows that there are several avoidance maneuvers that require proper braking technique to execute properly. Of course, the entire concept of defensive driving is relatively foreign to the average American driver.

RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By jimbojimbo on 5/7/2010 4:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
When anti-lock brakes were getting rolled out everyone actually did think that accident levels would go down. They just didn't think that the sense of safety people felt led them to drive even more foolishly. In actuality crash levels stayed constant. Believe me if you had this car and let your teenager drive it, I would bet money they'd be curious if it worked and just drive straight into a friend's car to find out.

RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By lightfoot on 5/7/2010 4:39:37 PM , Rating: 4
And if it didn't work it would be the teenager's fault, not Volvo's.

By Camikazi on 5/8/2010 1:52:40 AM , Rating: 1
Really think that would matter? The parents would just start blaming Volvo for their crash prevention not working anyway and of course the media would go after Volvo for it.

By echtogammut on 5/11/2010 5:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
A major factor with anti-lock brakes not having an impact on accidents, was that people didn't know how to use them. People were so used to feathering the breaks to prevent a lockup, then didn't realize they needed to floor the pedal and hold it down to provide the best braking. This also happened in the first year ABS was introduced in racing, however unlike racers people don't test out their new equipment and get familiarized with it.

RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By lightfoot on 5/7/2010 4:28:08 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, but it is also possible for a seatbelt or airbag to fail in a crash. That doesn't mean that you stop putting them in cars. Like those technologies this technology does not in any way increase the likelihood of a crash. It simply mitigates the danger if a crash were already imminent.

As a test, it was an utter failure. As a technology, it should not be abandoned. Even if it only worked 1% of the time it would still be a significant improvement in safety. It just wouldn't justify the cost at that point.

You can't compare this failure with the sticky gas pedals on Toyotas or the flaming cruise control on Fords. Those were failures that killed people. This failure (even at its worst) would simply not save people. There is a very significant difference.

By Alexstarfire on 5/8/2010 2:55:54 AM , Rating: 4
Whoever died because of the "sticky" gas pedals in Toyota cars are just retarded. I'm not saying Toyota is in the clear or anything, but come on. If you don't even know other ways to stop your car than the regular brakes then you don't need to be driving. Cause at that point you're just an accident waiting to happen.

RE: Wow great to see some honesty
By Omega215D on 5/8/2010 12:37:53 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, it is our right to be irresponsible with potentially dangerous machinery. Most accidents are preventable if the offending driver did what they were supposed to as they were taught in drivers ed.

Rear ended someone because you were tailgating? It's called proper following distance.

Tires unexpectedly fail? Most of the time it's due to improper maintenance of tire pressures.

Losing control of a vehicle on wet roads? It's called adjusting your speed to the conditions as well as proper vehicle maintenance.

And the list goes on...

You want to drive? Earn the damn privilege.

By Alexstarfire on 5/8/2010 2:58:12 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. Too bad that's never going to change. It's only going to get worse.

I'm hoping we'll let Darwinism take over one day.... but I think that's just a fantasy.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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