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Volvo Introduces a Collision-Proof Car

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the whoa-nellie dept.

Transportation 743

carazoo.com sends along a story on Volvo's upcoming crash-proof car. The company will introduce a concept car based on the S60 this month at the Detroit Auto Show, looking ahead a few years to the goal that by 2020 "no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car." The concept car will have forward-looking radar as a proximity sensor, and the ability to brake if a collision is imminent. When the car senses a collision, a light flashes on the windscreen display along with an audible warning. If the driver doesn't act, the car will brake automatically.

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743 comments

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300637)

I just had to do it.

Good luck with that. (5, Insightful)

Sefert (723060) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300639)

Up here in northern Canada the roads can get mighty icy. Your car can brake for you all it wants, but that won't change the laws of physics as you're sliding on a sheet of ice towards a thousand pound moose.

Re:Good luck with that. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300667)

Much like in Sweden, the country Volvo is based in (I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying I strongly doubt Volvo hasn't thought of that).

Re:Good luck with that. (5, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300857)

That's what the steel spikes are for. They impale your tires and dig into the pavement in the event of traction loss. Gets rather expensive after hydroplaning a couple of times, though.

In other news, Volvo has announced a cutting-edge strategy for surviving the economic slump through their exclusive partnership with Goodyear and Michelin....

Re:Good luck with that. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300891)

This is about murdering innocent babies. Our society calls it abortion, but I call it what it is murder. Many Americans think our economy is failing because of the Bush Administration, but they are wrong, it is because of sin. We are a very sinful nation, therefore God is against us. The only quote I have is from God's word. 2 Chronicles 7:14 say's 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land'. We are suppose to be a civilized nation but we are practicing Barbaric behavior called human sacrifice. It is sad that we live in a county were it is perfectly legal to murder an unborn child for convenience, maybe the mother to be says, 'It's not the right time, I must further my career', or a mother may tell her teenage daughter, 'You must get rid of the baby because you are to young. You must finish school'. It is human sacrifice for one's own convenience. Senator Barack Obama said if he becomes president that he would intervene in the African countries where genocide is taking place. He will not however, intervene in Roe vs. Wade which is genocide that is taking place here in America everyday disguised as planned parenthood.

Re:Good luck with that. (3, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300951)

I remember the good old days, back when the trolls were original, interesting and wrote with decent prose.

Re:Good luck with that. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26301093)

Who the fuck do you think you are passing judgement on the /. trolls? You sick fuck, naming yourself after someone who locks themselves away from reality and the outside world through some bullshit fantasy that they know better than anyone, a fucked up superiority complex that comes from being belittled and abused at all your pathetic efforts at social interaction. Your type makes me want to puke, your vile sickness creeping out of every pore as you fantasise about your next distant lacking interaction with the sane part of humanity. Go fuck yourself.

Re:Good luck with that. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300703)

It's the Windows XP of cars: It claims to be "crash-proof" but at least it'll tell you that you're fucked before it crashes. I wonder if the car would cry in pain while some crazy nigger's taking a crowbar [youtube.com] to it?

Re:Good luck with that. (-1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300793)

Apparently, they don't have Anti-Lock Breaking in Canada.

Re:Good luck with that. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300817)

It's tough to fit brakes onto your dog sled.

Re:Good luck with that. (4, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300905)

Nah, it's easy. It just takes a bit of practice to be able to say "Whoa-Mush!" over and over really fast a bunch of times in a row to get the dogs to "anti-lock".

Re:Good luck with that. (5, Informative)

RichMan (8097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300831)

> Apparently, they don't have Anti-Lock Breaking in Canada

We do. It does not work with zero traction. Locks, releases, locks releases, locks releases ....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-lock_braking_system

While ABS offers improved vehicle control in some circumstances, it can also present disadvantages including increased braking distance on slippery surfaces such as ice, packed snow, gravel, steel plates and bridges, or anything other than dry pavement.

Re:Good luck with that. (5, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300881)

Anti-lock brakes are designed to keep the wheels from locking up. They don't do anything to fix the problem of having absolutely no traction in some circumstances.

It's nice to see this. Some companies have been offering radar based cruise control for a while. It's unfortunate this is going to go through a series of lawsuits ("my car didn't stop for me", "my car stopped and spilled my soda over my priceless work of art", etc.).

Don't forget that the car could combine the information about external temperature and traction (from the traction control slip sensors, and the steering assist) to realize it would be hard to stop and plan for a larger stopping distance.

It will be REALLY interesting when this is combined with other sensors (like all the little proximity sensors that Ford's recently announced "help me parallel park" system has) to be able to not only brake, but identify that the lane to the right is empty and swerve to avoid the accident. This will be a while away though.

I wonder how much this will be abused? While it would be easy to try to let the computer do all the work (basically rely on it in emergencies) I would think that would be so nerve wracking most people wouldn't do it.

Re:Good luck with that. (2, Interesting)

diodeus (96408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300919)

Yup - it happened to be going down hill on slush. If the ABS had *not* kicked in, the wheels would have locked until the tires penetrated the slush and met the road.

But with the ABS active, the apply/release frequency was perfect to ensure the tires kept floating on top of the slush, so I slowly slid into the car in front of me.

I asked the dealer about disabling the ABS, they wouldn't do it.

Re:Good luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300935)

Apparently you don't understand how braking works. It doesn't work that well when the tires' rotation has been stopped and they are still sliding across the ice.

A Moose... (5, Funny)

Akardam (186995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300925)

... once got in the way of my sister's "crash-proof" Volvo.

Mind you, moose crashes can be pretty nasti...

Re:Good luck with that. (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300983)

It will make wonders here in Southern Europe. Though I'm afraid it will be beeping all the time with the traffic jams and narrow streets.

Hey, I invented another use for it. Just sleep all your way to work in the jammed traffic. The car will be doing the usual start-stop all by itself.

Re:Good luck with that. (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301025)

That's why volvo plans to invent the sedan bumper car. For the man-on-the-go, who can't be bothered with pesky collisions or insurance claims: just bump and run. Also, for those soccer-moms out there, enjoy the new bumper minivan, where you can share the fun with the whole family.

In all seriousness I don't see this idea working very well, and it may even cause problems. Consider the scenario where you're driving 60kmh down a freeway one-foot away from another car driving 60kmh parallel. If neighboring car decides it's his turnoff then either the collision will happen too fast for the computer to react or reacting may cause more damage with the vehicles behind you. At that point you'd probably want a car built like a squishy-tank (to absorb impact) and endure lesser damage instead of something far worse. In addition to that, I find current day proximity censors cars a bit too insufficient for my tastes. I drove a van with a rear sensor + video. The alarm goes nuts when it thinks you're about to hit the curb 3ft-4ft away and it has little chance of vehicles (when backing out of a parking spot) that approach from a blind spot. I.e. it has a problem with sensitivity and specificity that can at least be overridden by a human. Imagine a car freaking out over something rather benign, not handing over control. I for one am wary of these good intentions.

yeah well (5, Funny)

loafula (1080631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300643)

What if I crash into IT with my H2?

Re:yeah well (2, Funny)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300885)

Then I will laugh at you for not buying a real Hummer. If you're going to buy a Hummer, at least get a real one. Not a chick Hummer. Or at least get a different kind of chick hummer.

And then.. (5, Insightful)

gambit3 (463693) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300645)

"When the car senses a collision, a light flashes on the windscreen display along with an audible warning. If the driver doesn't act, the car will brake automatically." ... and then you get rear-ended by the vehicle that was tailgating yours.

Yeah. What could possibly go wrong here?

Re:And then.. (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300651)

Yeah. What could possibly go wrong here?

The person tailgating gets a ticket for following too closely, reckless driving (not wreckless driving, though).

Re:And then.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300807)

Yeah, that's fine and all, but if the accident caused the car behind me to smash into my suddenly stationary vehicle at full speed, breaking my neck or throwing my car forward through a guardrail, the question of "who gets the ticket?" is not the interesting one to be asking.

Frontal crash avoidance != accident avoidance.

Re:And then.. (1, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300685)

Yep...unless this thing has an 'off' switch....no way I'd buy something like this.

Personally, I like to go the other way, and have a car I can control as much as possible: manual transmission, manual brakes (yes, I know they are supposed to be better, but, ABS creeps me out and won't let me lock the brakes when I WANT to)...

Re:And then.. (4, Insightful)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300715)

I'm the same way. I mean, like, take my computer, for instance. I want to be in complete control over everything that it does, so I use it as a stand for my abacus.

Re:And then.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300739)

i refer you to: "forward looking radar" in the summary.

Re:And then.. (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300883)

If you were not paying attention to the point that this had to take over, then you deserve to get rear ended. Other than straight braking, you have the ability to break and swerve to the side of the road to give you more space to stop... If you do that, this system will not engage because you responded.

think of the person who passes out or has a heart attack.... this would stop for them before they hit that tree and die.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300661)

Passing on a two-lane highway? I've had a couple close calls there, and if my car decided to brake for me when I needed it least, that would be a bad thing...

Re:What about... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300755)

If you have had a few close calls while passing, perhaps you need to examine your driving habits?

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300889)

Fair enough. Of the three near-crash experiences I've had, I was actually driving the car once, and I'll take some blame on that. But no matter, the point being I can immediately think of a number of instances where this "feature" would be quite unwelcome...

Re:What about... (1)

ATinyMouse (703798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300929)

I've had a few close calls too, but it is not my driving habits. It's others that have cut me off. If the car decided to brake, now I'm the hazard on the highway...

Re:What about... (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301071)

I'm sure it depends on what he's defining as a close call. Honestly, how accurate can this system be? If the car was in an environment where nothing else was moving (and there was no slippery surface), then it sounds perfectly doable. But add in factors like other cars moving around just as fast as you, and it gets complicated. Do you really trust the system to know that a stationary object in your path isn't really a car that is temporarily crossing an intersection?

"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300683)

While everyone would laud the goal "that no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car," it's a completely ridiculous objective. If a huge truck hits you from behind, you'll die. If you run out of gas on rail road tracks in front of a train, you will die. If you're going too fast in mountain passes and dive off a cliff, you will die.

Unless Volvo has invented anti-gravity or a General Products Hull [wikipedia.org], this is a ridiculous piece of marketing that only the most stupidly ignorant could believe. Maybe the goal here is to give attention to Volvo, but the goal is so absurd that it seems like it has to bite them in the butt in some unforeseen way.

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (4, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300709)

Actually, a General Products hull won't save you. Cars already are less strong than the could be, because their squishy contents are too susceptible to high acceleration. A perfectly rigid car body would just kill its passengers.

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300873)

Hmm, I vaguely remembered a Larry Niven story where someone in the hull survived some rapid deceleration event (like hitting a planet) and surviving, but maybe that was the special Puppeteer version with the stasis field.

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301011)

Cars already are less strong than the could be, because their squishy contents are too susceptible to high acceleration.

Duh.

That why they'll invent Internial Dampeners [memory-alpha.org].

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300895)

This is a general long term goal. It serves as a compass to validate innovation put in Volvo cars. I, for one, salute this effort. The radar and auto-braker is just one small step toward this. In the future expect things like the car moving as to avoid incoming trucks, cars refusing to drive out of the road and down the cliff. Safe driving does not need to violate laws of physics. Accidents that would be completely unavoidable even with adequate technology are rare enough, even worldwide, so that Volvo's 2020 objective seems ambitious but plausible to me.

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (4, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300903)

Ahhh. You are missing a subtle point in their claim "that no one should be killed or injured *in* a Volvo car"! All they have to do is simply eject the passenger from the car so they die outside of the vehicle. ... ..

Profit?

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300913)

having a sky-high goal allows them to shoot for it and try to get as close as they can, which is way better than just saying, "well our cars are safer than last year, so we're fine with tiny improvements here and there"

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300917)

It seems like a pretty reasonable goal under normal driving circumstances. Sure a car won't be able to handle a train, but I assume they are referring to standard highway driving with other vehicles withing a few dozen times the mass of yours.

Re:"I Canna Change The Laws of Physics, Captain!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26301083)

... this is a ridiculous piece of marketing that only the most stupidly ignorant could believe. ...

Ever note who actually buys Volvos?

wishful thinking (5, Insightful)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300689)

This summer I had to ask two passengers in my car to buckle their seat belts.

"Oh, you're that kind of driver?" one asked.

I told them I'm not the driver they should be worried about.

Re:wishful thinking (3, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300849)

I once stopped dating a woman because she refused to buckle her seat belt. I said she could do whatever she wanted in her own car, but if I was driving, I wanted to reduce the likelihood that I'd have a mangled corpse on my hands if something unforeseen happened.

Her reasoning? She didn't want to mess up her clothing. I decided that I couldn't have someone that vain and short-sighted in my life. The break-off was easy, though, since she decided my refusal to drive with her un-belted was a control issue, so we both went away happy.

Unreasonable requests (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300963)

I think I might have dated the same woman. She hated wearing a seatbelt, but for some reason would accept it if *I* buckled it for her. She also tried to bring her open beer into my car, insisting that if I really cared about her I wouldn't worry about a silly thing like roadside checks and fines, etc.

I've met the type a few times since. Some women like to request unreasonable things in order to have men "prove" how much they value them over common sense. I've seen guys do similar things though in different ways (acting unreasonable and demanding acceptance)...

Good call in ditching her.

Re:wishful thinking (2, Funny)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301005)

Next time just let them be and then proceed to drive like a madman (make sure you have an open road)... speed up then brake randomly, swerve around for no reason.... maybe do a little drifting around a wide turn ;-p

Then respond: "Yes, I'm THAT kind of driver!"

rear ended (1, Interesting)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300695)

what about getting rear ended? I would guess half of all avoided collisions resulted from the gas pedal and steering wheel instead of the break. Will the car accelerate away from danger when required? Steering too, I was driving late at night in mist when about a half dozen deer just appeared in the road. It took some heavy steering in addition to the break to avoid them.

It had better be 100 per cent reliable (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300707)

It's no sillier than when Honda put airbags on the Gold Wing motorcycle. In an interview, one of the Honda engineers said that they learned from the methods used to build the space shuttle, and that the failure rate of the air bag accidentally deploying were like twenty million to one. I didn't believe it there, and don't believe they'll have this car any safer than what we have now. When you're sharing the road with tractor trailers one is not as safe as one might be fooled into thinking. And all this is assuming that Volvo is still making cars by then (don't believe that either).

Re:It had better be 100 per cent reliable (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301027)

...all this is assuming that Volvo is still making cars by then (don't believe that either).

You don't live near a city, do you? I see more Volvos on the street than I care to count.

Seems like common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300713)

I'm surprised it hasn't been implemented years ago.

I swear, cops waste so much time with speeders (where speed limits are artificially low) that they ignore those who don't use turn signals or damned tail-gaters all together. Often times, I see someone ride around 5 feet off my ass, in snow and ice @ 70mph.

Re:Seems like common sense (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300787)

Often times, I see someone ride around 5 feet off my ass, in snow and ice @ 70mph.

Remember that no matter what happens, if he rear-ends you then you don't get the ticket and your insurance doesn't pay. I'm just saying...

Re:Seems like common sense (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300969)

In my country (and I'm pretty sure in the US too) if he were able to show that you braked out of spite, on purpose or anyway in order to have an accident, you'd be in much greater trouble than the idiot tailgater.
So what I do is, I switch on the rear fog lights. Now either the idiot backs off or he suffers from too much light in his eyes. Not as satisfying, I'll give you that...

Re:Seems like common sense (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301059)

And how could anyone prove that that you didn't see something that required you to slow down? Maybe you thought you saw a deer on the shoulder.

Re:Seems like common sense (1)

greenzrx (931038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301047)

Often times, I see someone ride around 5 feet off my ass, in snow and ice @ 70mph.

So, did you win the Rally?

Accident-proof or Accident-resistant? (2, Insightful)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300723)

Have Volvo engineers ever driven in ice and snow? If they haven't then they know that no vehicle is accident-proof. Accident-resistant maybe, but not accident-proof.

Accident-proof == No matter what conditions you drive in, and no matter how you drive, you will not get into an accident.

Accident-resistant == Depending on the conditions and driving patterns, there are extra features to help prevent an accident.

If this car is accident proof, then I would expect to go 70 mph down an icy road and expect to stop in the same about of time that I expect to stop in excellent conditions without hitting the stopped car in front of me or going into the ditch.

Re:Accident-proof or Accident-resistant? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300915)

See, what they are doing is aiming for the stars. I think they'll be extremely happy if these new features result not only in happy customers, but, say, 10-20% fewer deaths in Volvos.

What will be interesting is if it turns out that this causes a 10-20% increase in minor accidents (rear-ending and the like), or if people perceive the unwanted deceleration as a lack of control. Even if that perceived lack saved them from a much worse situation, or if the minor auto body damage saves them from death, popular response may be negative, and they might have to pull the features despite their success.

Re:Accident-proof or Accident-resistant? (5, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300923)

Have Volvo engineers ever driven in ice and snow?

Dear Astute ./er,

Thank you for pointing out your observations. Here in Sweden we don't get much snow and ice at all. Thanks to you and your observations we will be able to refine our system with ideas that we have never thought of before.

Sincerely,
Volvo Engineer

Re:Accident-proof or Accident-resistant? (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301089)

Yeah, agreed on the accident-resistant bit.

besides, build a crash-proof car and some idiot sending a text while driving will just build a better crash.

internet wiseguys (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300725)

Before everyone here rushes to spout off edge-cases for which this may make things worse, I would like to remind you all that this is still a very good thing so long as it saves more lives than it kills.

Yes, a piece of automation that occasionally kills people is a good thing if it saves even more lives.

Re:internet wiseguys (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300819)

Honestly, I would rather be responsible for my own actions than have a piece of machinery make these decisions for me.

This post generated by ...slashdotpostnoflames script...

Re:internet wiseguys (5, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300993)

You should have the collision sensor removed from your air bags. Replace it with a button which says "deploy airbags." You could have another button which tightens your seatbelt, leaving the belt loose until pressed.

That would empower you to make these decisions for yourself, rather than relying on the instant reflexes and unwavering attention of machinery.

Re:internet wiseguys (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301085)

I understand the sentiment, however I disagree.

The drivers in my neck of the woods are often... well... stupid. Things can be really bad when you are near one of the local high schools or the local college. Lots of inexperienced drivers in one area is never good, and when you add in winter snow/sleet/ice or sudden summer downpours and often steep hills it can get dangerous.

I'd rather give up that little bit of control (which, if you have a brain, you should already be on the brake pedal and stopping by the time the system decides to act) for the cases where it helps me.

I'd rather have that system around if something happens to me (say I pass out due to some unforeseen medical condition). I'd rather have it help prevent me from being hit by the idiot on the cell phone, or putting on makeup while going 80+ on the highway.

I'd rather have it stop the idiot who isn't watching in the fast-food line than get a small hole punched in my rear bumper because someone gunned the gas since they were watching the wrong car.

Will one of these help me personally? Maybe. I wouldn't mind one.

Will one of these help me by helping prevent accidents caused by idiots around me who don't pay enough attention while driving? Almost certainly. I support that.

Re:internet wiseguys (0, Troll)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300957)

If anything it'll make things worse.

"Oh, my car's crash proof, I'll just take my eyes off the road and surf some porn on my laptop."

The problem is, the more devices that get made that make cars safer give an even greater false sense of security to the people driving. If you had a car that had zero safety features, you'd drive that thing like it was made of porcelin.

Re:internet wiseguys (5, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301049)

I posted this above, but I think it fits here as well. Your comment about edge cases is true from a total life-saving perspective, but whether or not this is a commercial success may depend on the less extreme edge cases.

What I mean is, if they see a 10-20% reduction in deaths in Volvos, but it turns out that this causes a 10-20% increase in minor accidents (those edge cases), or if people perceive the unwanted deceleration as a lack of control. Even if that perceived lack saved them from a much worse situation, or if the minor auto body damage saves them from death, popular response may be negative, and they might have to pull the features despite their success.

It might be hard to convince someone that their car did a good thing for them when they're saying, "I totally had it under control, but the car took over, and the guy behind me hit me and bent my fender, cost me $1000." People might not be convinced that that $1000 saved them a $5000 front-end repair, or their lives.

I remember one time, some dunderhead I knew in high school complained that her bike helmet was worthless. Why? Because when someone opened their car door in front of her, she flipped over, landed on her head, and the helmet cracked in two.

She didn't even get it when I pointed out that that could have been her head. She was just upset that her $30.00 helmet was ruined. I don't mean to be pessimistic about general intelligence, but I'd say that kind of response might be more the rule than the exception.

If BRAKE and COFFEE, then LAWSUIT (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300731)

I can't wait until the lawsuits start coming in for people whose cars abruptly braked of their own accord, spilling steaming hot coffee into their nether regions. I will need employment.

if only your perception changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300741)

that might do it for now. never mind the hell in a handbasket writing on the wall.

Side Impacts Can Be Deadly Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300753)

How will forward-looking radar and automatic braking help when someone on a perpendicular road runs a red light and T-bones the side of the car?

Reaction time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300763)

Why have the middleman? If the car senses a collision, it should break on it's own, and alert me it's doing so. If you're building robo-car brakes, do it properly.

This "display a warning and play a sound, then act if I don't" seems to have too long a turnaround time. If I'm maintaining a proper following distance of 2 seconds, it's at LEAST half a second for me to process the warning, and likely a full second before I step on the brake. And that's assuming I can still stop in time at that point. Or that the car can still brake in time without me at that point if it determines "too slow, puny human!"

By the way, "a light flashes on the windscreen display"? OK, even if this is essentially a HUD (so my eyes stay mostly on the road), the human eye senses motion. Flashing ANYTHING is going to pull my eye away from the car in front of me, at the moment when that's a very bad idea...

Hopeless - try exocets instad! (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300785)

My lst five car accidents have happend while my car was stationary The most recent one, the other car was being push-started and the moron lady drive drove into the side of my parked 4x4!

No amount of collision sensing radar will protect you from side impacts while stationary. However, there might be something to be said for exocet missiles!

Re:Hopeless - try exocets instad! (1)

Mouldy (1322581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300865)

Having recently tried to bump start my car, but misjudged it and hit a Chelsea tractor square in the side - I don't believe this automatic braking lark would help if the engine isn't on (as in my case).

Re:Hopeless - try exocets instad! (1)

SL1200MKII (1263800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300941)

TOW 2 missiles might be more suitable for this application. Exocets are geared more towards ships; but then again we have quite a few land yachts roaming around so I guess Exocets would work quite nicely.

doesn't seem very thought out (1)

JonathanPerelmann (1412263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300799)

I don't get why it would warn you and give you time to apply the brakes yourself if the car as decided that you must stop anyway.

The trouble with semi-automated driving (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300815)

Having done some work on automated driving [overbot.com], I have some misgivings about semi-automated driving. ABS, which is a huge advance in vehicle control, hasn't reduced accidents as much as it should. Driver overconfidence seems to increase in ABS-equipped vehicles. Merely adding automated braking, which has been around for years [roadranger.com], may not help with passenger cars. It would probably encourage tailgating. It's a big win for heavy trucks, but they have pro drivers. Those guys aren't aggressive drivers, mostly tired ones. Passenger car drivers aren't that consistent.

Tailgating may be acceptable if there's a comm link between the car ahead and the car behind. That's been demonstrated successfully; if anybody in the chain starts to brake, everybody behind them brakes too. It needs to be coupled with enough smarts that not too many vehicles become a tight group, and a vehicle can't close up behind something that can stop shorter than it can.

Studies of crashes by Mercedes indicate that 80% of accidents would have been avoided if braking started 500ms sooner. Those aren't the severe accidents, though.

Anyway, while radar-controlled automated braking has its uses, it's not an answer in itself.

Re:The trouble with semi-automated driving (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300931)

They should probably use that radar to tell people when they're tailgating. Make it obnoxious enough that people will back off. I'm willing to believe most tailgaters are just shitty drivers rather than aggressive assholes.

Re:The trouble with semi-automated driving (2, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301029)

Do you remember that ultrasound device that lets you "beam" sound to a specific location? I want something like that so I can talk to other drivers on the highway.

Of course as soon as those devices became common the entire country would perish in the worst case of road rage in history.

Only in foreseeable (3, Interesting)

x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300835)

I work for a civil engineering firm and we design roadways (often many miles long) and in doing so I often see accident reports spanning many years. The majority of highway accidents (especially at high speeds and especially fatal ones) could not have been prevented by one or both (or more depending on how many cars are involved) of the cars braking as soon as ANYONE or anything could tell an accident was imminent.

Usually someone didnâ(TM)t look in their rearview mirror and changed lanes right into a car or someone fell asleep at the wheel and drifted across traffic and because of a split second lapse of attention someone is dead.

Itâ(TM)s not a OH NOOOES THAT PERSON HAS BEEN STOPPED IN FRONT OF ME FOR 2 MINUTES BUT I DIDNâ(TM)T NOTICE AND NOW ITâ(TM)S TOO LATE TO BRAKE!!!

A car comes over a hill in the highway going 30 over the speed limit (we design those speed limits on purpose and itâ(TM)s because of things like this) and thereâ(TM)s a disabled car with a blowout or engine problem in the road ahead of you and braking simply slows you down. You still hit the car and the lady standing in front of it looking helplessly at her engine still dies because you wanted to cut 5 minutes out of your drive time.

There is also the question of allowing your car to decide when you should brake and ALL the potential hassles/problems/safety issues involved in that.

Anyway, back to the point, if Volvo thinks that by installing some sensor in the bumper that will trigger the brakes if thereâ(TM)s something in front of you will keep people from dying in their cars they are pouring a lot of money down the garbage.

This technology will solve 1 problem for all 50 it creates in a drivers experience.

rear impacts are up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300851)

What % of accidents are the result of front impact in optimum road conditions. Which seems to be the only scenario this tech will effect.

Override? (4, Insightful)

chinton (151403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300869)

What if I decide not to brake for the dog in front of me because of the 18-wheeler behind me?

Re:Override? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300985)

Would a dog even have a big enough radar cross-section to trigger this hypothetical system?

Re:Override? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301055)

If the computer controlling this knows that

  1. there is a car behind you
  2. you are going 70mph

it can calculate how fast the car behind you is going. It can then calculate the probability that the car behind you would rear-end you if it hit the breaks.

Liability (4, Insightful)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300875)

If anything prevents this idea from becoming reality, it's the issue of liability . Does any company want to take on the added liability that this concept entails. For example, if a car equipped with this crashes (and it will happen) who will be liable? Even if the company is found not to be at fault, there is the cost of proving it in court.

Re:Liability (2, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301075)

That's easy. The "Collision-Proof" car will always be a prototype. It will never be a production model available for purchase. They will use it to get good PR for their brand while allowing a healthy distance from the idea that their production models are guaranteed to be collision proof. However, that doesn't mean that this is all useless hot air. Ideally, the more effective/economical technology developed for this prototype will trickle down to the production line. Once the more effective features have been in production with higher end companies, like Volvo, for a while they will work their way down to lower end cars. This is the way it's always worked in the car industry. Features we take for granted in modern cars (power windows, ABS breaks, airbags, etc.) can often be found on prototype cars from many decades before the first publicly sold car carried them.

Quit moaning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26300937)

If Volvo wants to try it, let them do it (what your problem with it?). It's a noble goal and even if it only makes traffic a few percent safer it's another little step forward.

All car manufacturers should have this on their agenda.

Get on with it. (3, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300971)

Why don't they just get on with the computer-driven cars already? All you need to do is look at the tech coming out of car companies to see where we're headed.

So where does that leave us? We now have cars that will follow other cars to the point of stopping entirely, can park themselves, will stay in the lane on their own (to a point)...the obvious goal here is to remove more & more of human input from driving.

So can we just skip all of this crap and go right to the computer-driven car, so we never have to worry about insurance premiums, speeding tickets, drink-driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and all of the rest of the nonsense that goes along with cars?

On the flip side, if you're a sports-car enthusiast, this is likely to be the last generation where one can purchase a raw, loud, driver's car. We're going to wind up like the character in Rush's Red Barchetta before we know it.

accident proof or just 100% safe from injury? (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26300981)

In TFA, Thomas Broberg was directly quoted saying this:

"Our aim for 2020 is that no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car"

The article then proceeds like this:

So how can such a worthy goal be achieved? Broberg's reply would be that Volvo is working on the world's first accident-proof car.

100% injury free and accident proof are two different things. A car can't be accident proof, there are too many environmental factors outside of the car that you can't control, most importantly the other driver and their car. However, I can see within the realm of reality that you could build a safe shell around the passenger compartment in order to save the passengers and driver from injury. A bit tough and no doubt expensive, but possible.

It seems like the accident proof statement was the article putting words into Broberg's mouth. Am I too far off base?

Demolition man (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301019)

It would be cool to have something like demolition man where the car fills with foam. I'm not sure if it would work in real life but someone should try it.

So Volvo 2020 is a tank then? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301031)

So the only way to make sure that people in a Volvo ALMOST never get killed is to make it a tank. It better be a huge one too, in case a train hits it. Still, probably won't do good against another Volvo tank.

It should weigh 80 tons and go no faster than 120km/h. At that point the survivability for Volvo drivers will be almost completely assured. I am not that positive about drivers of other cars, pedestrians, houses, bridges and even roads though.

GM & Chrysler's managment are on it . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301037)

by 2020 "no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car."

If it wasn't for those meddling taxpayer kids, GM and Chrysler could have achieved that no one would be killed in a GM or Chrysler car, as well.

Well, at least until the last ones get off the road.

Note: Volvo belongs to Ford ... coincidence, I think not!

Collision Proof? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301041)

Collision Proof suggests the care will never collide.
Collision Resistant will keep the Ambulance chasing shysters off Volvos doorstep.
Letting the car make navagational decisions is akin to CNC dentistry. It may look good on paper,it may bring accolades around the coffee pot ,but eventually someones gonna get their Volvo sucker-punched by a semi-truck when it stops for a squirrel and need some new fillings.
Are you gonna open your mouth for the machine?

I heard (2, Funny)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26301061)

that if the car senses a collision is imminent, regardless of its attempts to prevent it, that it just explodes so it can maintain it's "collision proof" claim.

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