This is officially the second safety system demonstration in as many "Look at this!" announcements that has gone horribly wrong for Volvo. That's right, two. The first one was back in May and led to a new S60 estate crushing itself into the back of a truck - see the video here. This latest mishap occurred during a media demonstration to Australian journalists in Europe.
Now that the known-as-safe Volvo brand is officially owned by the Chinese, is this a sign of things to come?
The mechanism in question is part of Volvo's pedestrian avoidance technology, which makes use of cameras and radar in the nose of the vehicle to control the brakes and stability control system in order to reduce driver/pedestrian injuries. The object that the system was meant to detect was Bob the Dummy; as you can see in the vids below, it didn't detect a damn thing.
That's not to say the system is terrible; after all is said and done, it worked 75% of the time. Of the twelve runs, only one ended with Bob getting the full force of the Volvo unleashed on him, with the other two still being less than perfect. Some of the blame has been placed on a camera that doesn't work well in low-light conditions (infrared / night vision, guys?).
Volvo's Jonas Tisell, Active Safety Systems manager, told journalists, "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. So the dummy was not relevant in this situation." So...blame it on the dummy? And "not relevant"? How does being to blame (according to Volvo) translate as irrelevant?
More like Volvo just got caught with its pants down...again.
By Phil Alex