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Volvo’s Auto-Braking System Fails; Human Error Blamed

Via Drive.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 at 9:54 am and is filed under Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Volvo’s Auto-Braking System Fails; Human Error Blamed”

  1. David Says:

    Well, aside from the “human error”, they have two design problems:

    1. You can damage the sensors by (quick) charging the battery.

    2. When a sensor is damaged, there’s apparently no warning.

  2. Michael Prager Says:

    While this failed test obviously makes me wonder if they can get this to work correctly, I would think this type of thing could have potential if they can get the bugs out but I see potential for problems. I assume Volvo considered all these. I am struggling to see when this would be good. Is the cost worth the safety benefit. If the driver is distracted or falls asleep and doesn’t react in time to something like a car that stops suddenly in front of him or someone who has a seizure and drives off road and almost hits tree. I am not sure how often accidents like this happen, the driver should break but doesn’t.

    What about the possibility of being rear ended? If the driver is alert and wants to think fast and swerve to avoid being rear ended but the system tries to break. I have had a few close calls where I had to break but not too fast to avoid both hitting the car in front of me and being rear ended. Also, what type of things can they detect and would trigger the stop, you don’t want to stop unless absolutely necessary. It says it would detect a pedestrian but what if there is something like a box that fell in the road or a person who may be running across road, etc. Will this type of technology be in the cars of the future?

  3. Dave in KY Says:

    It seems to me that the braking system could easily detect when it’s exceeding threshold friction, and leave off the brake in that case, to leave more ability for turning.

    As a cyclist, I’m all for auto-stop technologies on cars. 100% of fatal car bike crashes in my city over the years have had “I didn’t see ‘em” listed as a reason for the crash. I’ve been wearing an orange vest and been hit by a car myself. Humans suck. Let the computers have a chance.

  4. Andy Says:

    Auto-braking is a terrible idea. It’s one more “safety feature” that just means that the driver can pay less attention while driving.

    I had a neighbor back right into a friend’s car in my driveway, because they were relying on their backup sensor which hadn’t gone off yet. It would have been easy just to look back themselves and know there’s a car back there, but when you get used to automatic things like this you lose focus.

    Auto-braking just encourages faster and unsafe driving, and it puts the blame on the system instead of the driver when it’s not quick enough.

  5. Jason Says:

    Andy – good point. Reminds me of Monderman’s ‘shared space’ theory.

    Signs and road markings designed to make the road safer mainly contribute to drivers sense of safety. Counter-intuitively, the road can be made safer for all by removing safety markings and thereby increasing driver awareness:

    http://thomasthethinkengine.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/shared-space-unsafe-is-safe/

  6. Erik Says:

    Jason – perhaps road markings etc. are not designed to make roads safer, but to increase traffic flow…

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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