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Volvo Safety Demo Goes Poorly 34

Lanxon writes "At a demonstration of Volvo's new collision warning system in Sweden this week, Wired got first-hand experience (and video) of what happens when it goes badly wrong. The new Volvo S60, due for release later this year, was fired out of Volvo's testing tunnel at around 30MPH, and the collision detection system should have kicked in, bringing the car automatically to a halt before hitting the truck in its path. It didn't. Instead, the brand new car ploughed into the back of the truck in front of us, and indeed the world's press who had gathered in Sweden to see the collision detection system in action."


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Volvo Safety Demo Goes Poorly

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  • by clone52431 ( 1805862 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:53PM (#32133122)

    A crash course in safety.


  • Typical (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mick R ( 932337 ) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @05:39AM (#32137320)
    Much like regular Volvo drivers, it was oblivious to everything around it.
    • Post-Ford Volvo drivers, thank you very much...
      • by macshit ( 157376 )

        Much like regular Volvo drivers, it was oblivious to everything around it.

        Post-Ford Volvo drivers, thank you very much...

        Volvo drivers have had this reputation for ages -- the first jokes I remember about them were from the early '80s -- long before ford had anything to do with it.

        • Amongst motorcyclists they're known as "Ovlov"s - they tend to tail you so closely that you can easily read the name on the fascia in your vibrating, usually-hard-to-use rear view mirror with no problems at all. I don't think this detection system is going to really help remove that unfortunate reputation.
  • How fast? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saturndude ( 609090 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @03:30AM (#32145136) Homepage

    The article (I read it) said "around 30 MPH", but the car had "35 KMH" printed on it (which is approximately 22 MPH).

    Are the reporters bad with numbers or did they forget the metric system?

  • The future? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thepike ( 1781582 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @04:48PM (#32149206)

    This is why I'm afraid of cars in the future. They'll have all these safety features, people will forget how to drive (even the little bit they know) and rely on the car, and things will go wrong.


    "had a human been driving, he or she would have noticed the system was not operating correctly"

    And they would have ignored it. Like every check engine light in the world that no one cares about.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by oldspewey ( 1303305 )

      Like it or not, automotive technology is headed toward fully autonomous vehicles. And the result will be safer roads. Once these systems are perfected (or perfected to within a few hundredths of a percent of perfection), the statistical likelihood of an accident due to malfunction will be infinitesimal compared to the statistical likelihood of an accident due to the fact many humans are complete fucking idiots behind the wheel. The sooner we remove these people from any equation involving my safety on the r

    • Many already have thank you very much.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      you make fun of that check engine light.. i have a 2001 Volvo S80... by far the crappiest car i have EVER owned.. it is less reliable than my 30+ year old MG.... i had the idler pulley designate while at a stop light.. thrashing that motor and bent 16 valves.. from my point sounded like it just turned off.. not once did the check engine or service light come on.. in fact the in-dash computer was still registering zero messages.

      old Volvo's where good cars.. Ford makes great trucks (except late90's ea

  • by Chicken_Kickers ( 1062164 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:01PM (#32150362)

    This article actually doesn't belong in the Idle section. This is a very serious issue with wide-ranging ramifications, i.e. the automation of our automobiles (hah!). I have said before, and I will say it again, we have gone past the point where adding any more automation to the car will do any good, instead of improving the driver's skills.

    • A train is the only safe car on autopilot.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. As a matter of fact i'd actually go further and strip out a bunch of convenience features too. Like indicators that are supposed to turn themselves off. Except they seldom do it at the right time, if at all leading to peole not indicating when they should be or indicating when they shouldnt, respectively. I've been seriously considering taking apart the steering column in my car to work out how to do it for myself at least.

      Modern drivers are lazy, electric windows i can understand bu

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @04:36AM (#32152736) Homepage

    An excellent demonstration...of why automation should never attempt to take control of a car. Software errors, hardware failures, unreliable sensor technology, and an endless supply of unforeseeable situations mean that automation simply cannot be reliable.

    Example: Our car has collison sensors - in heavy snowstorms, they warn us continually of imminent crashes with snowflakes.

    • ... just because the beta technology in your car does this, don't assume that production vehicles in 20 years won't have this solved.
      • So what are you saying? In 20 years mankind will have somehow managed to create sensors and hardware that can never fail, and completely bug-free software that can handle every situation that will every happen anywhere anytime ever?

        Wow, you weren't a "Titanic" engineer in a previous life were you?

        There is nothing wrong with trying to improve quality and function, but when people stop being humble epic failures usually follow.
        • Close. What I am saying is that in 20-40 years mankind will have somehow managed to create sensors and hardware that fail less often than humans do, along with relatively bug-free software that can handle the vast majority of driving situations better than humans, as well as being able to fail gracefully better than most humans.

          My "magical thinking" is based on two underlying assumptions:
          1) A significant number of people out there really suck at driving, and barely manage to keep out of trouble during "nor

    • by v1 ( 525388 )

      they warn us continually of imminent crashes with snowflakes.

      They just don't want you to plow (haha) into any innocent snowmen.

  • It was a perfect demonstration of what happens when the one piece of safety equipment which could have prevented this was replaced by an inferior technology: the part they left out was AN ALERT DRIVER. I dearly love how car companies try to find more and more exotic ways to relieve the driver of his one BASIC RESPONSIBILITY while driving a car: DRIVING THE CAR. And it fails, of course, as I could only have hoped it would. Just wish I could have seen it in person. Until computers are truly smarter than

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