Print 52 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Sep 30 at 3:15 PM

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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Shift of blame from driver to car manufacturer
By Schrag4 on 9/27/2010 2:42:43 PM , Rating: 4
I can't help but feel that a system like this will ultimately lead to car manufacturers being sued anytime a pedestrian is hit, when ultimately the driver and the pedestrians share responsibility to avoid such collissions. I'm not saying lives wouldn't be saved if this system generally worked 99.9% of the time (which it doesn't), but I'm just afraid that people will FEEL less responsible for their poor driving, or even pedestrians might feel they should be able to cross the street without looking!

The car is a tool. It can do unintended damage. Make it safer, sure, but don't rely on those safety systems to keep yourelf or others safe, instead, use some caution and common sense when using the tool! (or if you're putting yourself in the potential paths of these tools, pedestrians) Suing Volvo would be like suing Craftsman for your smashed thumb when you miss the nail with their hammer. Or like suing Pentel for your mispelled words.

By theArchMichael on 9/27/2010 3:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think any tech that can marginally increase the overall safety of a vehicle is worthwhile costs permitting. Also, integrating technology into vehicles is going to be an important step for us as a culture as we move towards the fully automated self-driving car. So as these vehicle automation techs improve over time and people feel more comfortable giving control over to the technology things may change more rapidly.

Also, not sure on this, but I think most times when you are rear-ended... you are the victim... unless you really enjoyed it :-)

By The Raven on 9/28/2010 12:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
Also, not sure on this, but I think most times when you are rear-ended... you are the victim... unless you really enjoyed it :-)

I was trying to say that that the car manufacturer would get sued by the driver.

And I doubt we are headed for a self-driving car anytime in my baby's lifetime. If we were, we would be using public transportation A LOT more. (I speak from the American perspective).
We are trying to be more fuel efficient (be that gas, solar, wind, coal, etc.) and and a self-driving car is not in those plans.

By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 9/29/2010 12:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
The manufacturer isn't to blame in this situation. The driver in the rear vehicle that is travelling too close or too fast is to blame for the accident. Ask anyone in car insurance, they'll quickly clear that up for you.

The manufacturer may end up getting sued if the system causes some other kind of accident where the driver of the vehicle would normally be at fault.

By The Raven on 9/30/2010 3:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah you're right. But I still think that people will find a way to hold the manufacturer responsible if there is a 'misfire'. Maybe the rearender will sue the manufacturer the same way people sue cities for causing accidents at 'dangerous' intersections. (I not dismissing such suits but using it as an example)

I'm talking about these suits where the manufacturer gets sued for airbag/seatbelt malfunction. (Barring legislation) they could just leave the feature out and avoid a suit. But I definitely see your point.

RE: Shift of blame from driver to car manufacturer
By GTVic on 9/27/2010 4:02:06 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, I agree, safety systems should not be implemented for many reasons: fear of legal action, fear of bad drivers getting worse, fear of being afraid, etc.

Abolish all seat belts, they encourage reckless driving!

By Schrag4 on 9/27/2010 5:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
Abolish all seat belts, they encourage reckless driving!

Seat belts don't slam on your brakes, this system does. Nobody is OK with getting in an accident just because they're more likely to survive. That's not the thrust of my concern. My concern is that people will sue when these devices fail, even though the driver is at least partially at fault (with the rest of the blame falling on the pedestrian, perhaps, but NOT the car).

Oh, and maybe YOU won't drive down a pedestrian even if this device fails, but that doesn't mean a lot of people wouldn't falsely put their faith in the system and pay less attention to the road. I think I'd rather this thing ding at you if you're going to hit something, so you still have to make the final decision to brake, and therefore you still have to pay attention. However, the article clearly states that the goal of these is to get people to agree to relinquish control of their machines to computers, which is something I don't think we're anywhere near ready for, and therefore is a bad idea at this point in time. Just my two cents.

By rcc on 9/28/2010 3:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
Abolish all seat belts, they encourage reckless driving!

True, but not having them encourages reckless exiting of the vehicle. Usually through the windshield

By Miqunator on 9/27/2010 5:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
"Warning, this vehicle does not have a brain, use your own"

Found that sign somewhere, would probably be cheaper to put that in the car instead...

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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