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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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By theArchMichael on 5/8/2010 9:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
Technically... the car is less safe, as I am sure that Volvo will promote this feature along with all of the other safety features of the vehicle, comprising the safety system. Failure of this safety feature reduces the advertised comprehensive safety of the vehicle.

Also, implying that the driver is at fault at all times for this type of collision is misleading. There are several fairly common scenarios where other drivers, animals, unmanned obstactles, may obstruct the path of the car outside the window of human response time to avoid / reduce damage of a collision. So in such a scenario, a responsible driver would be worse off without such a feature, because the situation is out of his/her control, because of the limitations of human reaction time.

Not to mention that when you're in the dealership lot talking to the sweaty car salesman about how much he can take off of MSRP, he is going to say... " awww I don't know if we can let it go for that price, it has the new high tech safety system that avoids front end collisions... you could get a regular car and save $10,000... I guess it all depends on how much you love your family..."
So to pay a premium for the safety, with no level of expectation of "using" the tech, is completely reasonable. As would be suing in the instance that one became aware that there was hardware/software failure due to manufacturer defect.

I think you could compare it to the airbag in the drivers wheel. If you were in a front end collision and it failed to deploy which led to your face being smashed in.... well I imagine you'd be rightly pissed.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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