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Volvo XC60 test vehicle applies brakes to prevent collision with test dummies  (Source: Drive)
Volvo blames collisions on improperly setup dummies

It was just a few months ago when we brought you the first edition of Volvo's "Technology Fail" with the failure of the company's Collision Warning System. In that test, a Volvo S60 test car was supposed to brake in time to avoid a stationary truck with no driver involvement -- instead, the vehicle ended up rear-ending the truck at 30 mph.

Now, Volvo is serving up a second edition of Technology Fail. This time around, Volvo invited the press to witness its Advanced Pedestrian Avoidance System in action. The system is supposed to detect pedestrians in the direct path of the vehicle and apply the brakes to avoid a collision. A Volvo XC60 test vehicle equipped with the new safety feature was sent down a test track towards two dummies (a father and son pairing). Of the 12 demonstrations performed for the press, three of them failed.

In two of the three incidents witnessed, brakes were applied, but not in time to avoid a collision. In one of the collisions, the brakes were not applied at all.

Almost comically, Jonas Tisell, Volvo's Active Safety Systems manager, told Drive that the three collisions were the dummy's fault. "The failure of the test was due to the dummy not being set up properly, therefore it did not give an echo enough for the system," said Tisell. "So the dummy was not relevant in this situation."

It is a bit puzzling to imagine a dummy standing in the middle of the road -- which is approximately representative of a human being doing the same thing -- could possibly be setup wrong, but we'll give Volvo the benefit of the doubt here.

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By Hafgrim on 9/27/2010 2:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
Well dummies arnt exactly very human like considering humans are supposedly 90% water. I would assume they should have used fluidic ballistics gel dummies or dummies with water bags in its clothing something to make them more human like in density if that is whats causeing the sensor failures.

By Brandon Hill on 9/27/2010 2:19:04 PM , Rating: 1
I believe that the system is radar-based, so would object density really have to be taken into consideration?

By Smartless on 9/27/2010 2:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
Totally true. Besides some people are more dense then others. har har. You know, why should it matter how a dummy is set up when basically ANYTHING in the road should trigger a brake response. Stealth clothes?

By AssBall on 9/27/2010 3:23:27 PM , Rating: 3
So what, it is going to swerve you off the road and cause an accident because there was a big baloon or even a deer that would be much safer to plow over than avoid, but do nothing for a telephone pole that will turn you and your car into biscuits and gravy?

Why doesn't Volvo just save their money and give people driving lessons at the dealership instead.

By Smartless on 9/28/2010 12:13:40 AM , Rating: 2
Well this thing just brakes anyway not steering control. As for running over a deer, you might want to look up the amount of fatalities there are from actually hitting one. They're not soft and squishy.

And for Pete's sake don't we all agree on that? The funny part is the safer people feel in their car the more likely they'll be stupid and get into one. All I'm asking is why is Volvo's test all involve people? I'd actually like to see real statistics where this type of device would actually curb accidents seeing how they failed on identifying a car in front of them the first time.

By AssBall on 9/28/2010 7:07:30 AM , Rating: 2
I think more fatal damage is done avoiding deer than hitting them, statistically. (I don't have any links). A friend of mine hit one going 80mph in her dodge neon at night. It totalled the neon, but since she held it straight, she was fine. I hate to imagine what would have happened if she slammed on the brakes or swerved out of the way in the middle of interstate traffic.

By Smartless on 9/28/2010 2:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
Lol I actually found a few links to one study.

Now let's take these statistics and put them in perspective. Yes 150 deaths a year are a drop in the bucket but even 1 in a 1,000 accidents per fatality means that its not an anomaly since a majority of accidents that happen on the road aren't fatal and that's with another 2 ton vehicle.

By DanNeely on 9/27/2010 9:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. Or rather how strongly it reflects radar which is somewhat more complex of a question than just density; although broadly speaking denser objects will give stronger returns.

That said, not having confirmed that the dummies were suitable prior to the press conference is a staggering display of incompetence.

By NainoKami on 9/28/2010 9:26:29 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it's closer to 55-60% water for an adult. But interesting point...

By rcc on 9/28/2010 3:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps if Mr. Tisell is so confident in the system, he should volunteer to stand out there.

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