Human error is likely to blame for new safety system failure
Volvo has been touting its collision avoidance system on the new 2011 S60, but there is one problem, in a recent test the system didn’t work. With no driver on board, the S60 slammed into the back of a truck. Evidently the failure was a result of the avoidance system being disabled.
In Volvo’s defense, the system was working perfectly earlier in the day. During the last test, a crash-test-dummy was stuffed into the driver seat and sent on its way. Volvo is claiming the car’s battery was not working right and as a result the system was disabled. Perhaps the system is disabled when the battery is low?
Video of Volvo’s “oopsy” after the jump
When the system is working properly, the S60 will automatically come to a full stop to avoid a collision at speeds under 30 MPH. At speeds above 30 MPH, the system will attempt to apply the brakes to slow down enough to avoid a fatal accident. You can read more about the S60′s collision and pedestrian avoidance systems here.
While it does look bad for Volvo, we have to all remember that no current collision avoidance system is better than the human brain. Crash avoidance systems should be used as an additional layer of safety (and for when we are too busy looking at our Blackberry’s.)
Computer controlled safety systems will eventually lead to less accidents on the road, but the public will likely distrust them at first. After Toyota’s stuck throttle issue, the public is becoming wary of electronic gizmo’s. When lives are on the line, there is zero tolerance for these safety systems to fail.
Currently there is no replacement for an experienced and attentive driver. Improved driver training would likely save more lives than advanced electronics. Then again, Volvo’s system did not fail due to a computer glitch, it failed because of human error.
Check out the video below to see the S60 commit suicide.