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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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I blame Volvo's reaction
By Belegost on 9/27/2010 2:58:08 PM , Rating: 5
I seriously think Volvo has goofed in how they reacted to this, I would have claimed success.

Look at it this way, in testing the system performed perfectly in 75% of cases, and performed partially (at least if the brakes were applied injuries were reduced) in 92% of cases.

More importantly, this is a parallel system meant to augment a human driver. So the probability of total system failure here is now the probability that both the driver and the vehicle systems fail simultaneously, a much smaller probability than either of them failing individually.

I mean, from this perspective 3 out of 4 of the people who would have been hit by a negligent driver could avoid being harmed - sounds like a great thing to me.

RE: I blame Volvo's reaction
By fcx56 on 9/27/2010 3:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
I accidentally downrated you so I had to post to clear that up. I agree, it may be a more dangerous thing to market this to people as having a 100% hit (ha, or maybe non-hit) rate. Not everyone is this dumb but remeber the lady who sued the maker of her RV because no one eve told her she couldn't go in the back for a cup of coffee and let the RV drive itself. I can forsee similar lawsuits being attempted by people that may not understand that no automated crash avoidance system can be trusted without supervision when it's your or another's life at stake

RE: I blame Volvo's reaction
By tmouse on 9/27/2010 3:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think they have much to be happy about. There is absolutely nothing else on the street to interfere with the signal and the test subjects are fully facing the car. Anything less than 100% is a failure under those ideal conditions. You probably will not get too many people standing in the middle of a road facing oncoming traffic. If it did happen the kid would probably be pulling away and yelling let go of my hand stupid!

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