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

Via Drive.

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:

  6. Erik Says:

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

Leave a Reply

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.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency:

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau:

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



May 2010
« Apr   Jun »

No, you probably won be compensated one million dollars; however, with the right blend of negotiating skills and patience, your efforts will be substantially rewarded!I have seen up to forty thousand dollars added to starting compensation through diligent negotiations. It is a way to significantly raise your standard of living and sense of self, simply by