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Building the Zero-Fatality Car

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the does-not-include-pedestrians dept.

Transportation 509

CWmike writes "In the future, new cars might include an appealing sticker: 'This car is rated for zero fatalities.' John Brandon reports that Volvo, for instance, has launched a program called Vision 2020, which states, 'By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.' It includes not just new protective measures in the car, but technology for communicating dangers to and from the car. Other car companies have similar, less formalized programs. As ambitious as it seems, Ed Kim, an analyst at automotive research firm AutoPacific, says the zero-fatality goal is achievable. In the next 10 years, there will be a confluence of safety technologies — such as road-sign recognition, pedestrian detection and autonomous car controls — that lead to safer cars, says Kim. Will your next car look something like this?"

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What? (5, Funny)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160900)

I need a car metaphor.

Re:What? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161344)

In the future, we will finally have flying cars [transeum.com] .

Re:What? (5, Funny)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161364)

I need a car metaphor.

So, basically, imagine lots and lots of corporations as cars on a busy Interstate. On one hand, we have SCO which was a tanker truck filled with benzene and toxic sludge going to the nearest creak to offload, but before it got there, it had a catastrophic wreck and burned for a while. As a matter of fact, the sludge was so nasty that it has been burning for several years, and fire crews have not been able to extinguish it.

As for the zero-fatality car, let me put it this way. Since the Interstate (the world-wide work force) is still blocked with toxic sludge and fire (the recession and its causes), nothing is getting done, and Volvo isn't selling as well as it did. In order to appease shareholders temporarily and raise Volvo's stock for the next week or two, Volvo has decided to build a vehicle that not only can withstand any wreck, but since it is zero-fatality, you just can drive right through that fire and toxic sludge and be on your merry way to economic recovery.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161390)

creak = creek

(sorry)

MOD PARENT INSIGHTFUL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161448)

This is the most retarded, creative, insightful comment ever.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161494)

For some reason the first thing I thought of was 'finish him'!

I thought they already solved this problem (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160934)

Go go gadget Car-From-Demolition Man!

Re:I thought they already solved this problem (2, Interesting)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161196)

I don't know if you've seen TFA or just making a quick joke but a comparison between the main picture and a google image search for "demolition man car" shows that you're basically spot on!

Not good enough (3, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160940)

Come talk to me when they figure out the "zero fatality life."

Re:Not good enough (3, Funny)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161510)

Not possible. No matter how far and fast medical technology improves, someone will always be able to fuck up bad enough to cause a fatality, at least eliminating themselves.

There is no zero (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33160952)

Zero is a figment of your imagination. You can only ever approach it, more and more expensively.

Re:There is no zero (5, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161260)

Untrue.

How many times have you had sex with a living female human being this week?

Thought so.

Re:There is no zero (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161552)

0.75

and it was expensive

Re:There is no zero (2, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161560)

Untrue.

How many times have you had sex with a living female human being this week?

Thought so.

Sorry man, that doesn't fly. Females are a figment of the imagination too.

In a Volvo? (3, Interesting)

Jojoba86 (1496883) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160958)

By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo

But what about those outside the Volvo?

Re:In a Volvo? (4, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161062)

"The goal is unique in that Volvo Cars has designated a year and is showing a social responsibility that also extends to people in other vehicles and pedestrians," says Anders Eugensson, safety expert at Volvo Cars. "We are very clear about the fact that our cars should not negatively affect other people at the moment of an accident. In addition, no unprotected roadusers should be seriously injured or killed."

Re:In a Volvo? (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161126)

The missing piece in the article:

by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed by a new Volvo

Re:In a Volvo? (4, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161324)

Exactly. I got an '86 Cutlass Supreme with a V8, shoddy tires, worn out brakes, a missing front bumper, and a case of PBR in a cooler in the passenger seat. I'll take them odds vs. any Volvo in the world...

Re:In a Volvo? (4, Insightful)

Deag (250823) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161520)

Well your old car might look like it comes off better than the volvo. But likely your V8 engine will end up up crushing you while the volvo will crumble everywhere but the passenger compartment.

Re:In a Volvo? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161400)

Better you than me, buddy!

Auto-car. (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160984)

I'm really interested in the promise of an automated car that you don't have to get a license for or actually drive. They would be inherently safer, even taking failures into consideration. Of course, this will never fly (in America, at least) because we have this mentality that we need to be actively behind the wheel of a six ton three-story tall truck with twelve wheels, wider than two lanes of traffic, with a pair of truck-nuts dangling off the back. To pick our snot-nosed kids up from the grade school.

Re:Auto-car. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161086)

Of course, old people will also be upset and angry by either the car in the article (with some automation) or the desired auto-car itself. They have lived long lives and fought in wars, so who are we to strip them of their independence and prevent them from exercising their hard-earned god-given rights to wipe out entire fields of soccer playing children or entire restaurants full of diners?

Re:Auto-car. (-1, Troll)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161158)

Old people should not be driving. Period.

Re:Auto-car. (4, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161264)

That's funny... All the people who've caused accidents I was involved in were young.

Re:Auto-car. (4, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161578)

I'm no mathematician, but I suspect your personal anecdotal experiences may not be conclusive of the overall accident and fatality rate of the rest of the nation (or world).

Drivers with the greatest fatality rates are people under twenty-four years of age (especially under nineteen) and older drivers (over fifty or sixty - I forget which).

Stories of old people accidentally stepping on the gas instead of the break are pretty common and young people are just careless, inexperienced, irresponsible, and stupid. But of course, you can't dare take driving away from them, because getting behind the wheel of a 75mph 3,000lb chunk of steel before you can even be trusted to smoke, vote, hold a full time job, or live on your own is considered about as "unamerican" as you can get.

Re:Auto-car. (4, Insightful)

gemtech (645045) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161382)

Didn't you mean to state:
Most people should not be driving. Period.
?

Re:Auto-car. (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161206)

Are you a serious socialist? I can't imagine any other mentality that accepts both "Independent drivers cause 300 deaths per car accident" (wiping out a field of soccer players would take a lot of effort, and some would escape off the field into terrain I couldn't follow by the time I could turn and catch up; a restaurant would take a large amount of high explosives in the back) and "totally automated cars are completely feasible and will never cause fatalities when they malfunction." It's got to be a perfect-world-versus-horrible-decaying-world mentality.

Re:Auto-car. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161458)

Are you a serious socialist? I can't imagine any other mentality that accepts both "Independent drivers cause 300 deaths per car accident" (wiping out a field of soccer players would take a lot of effort, and some would escape off the field into terrain I couldn't follow by the time I could turn and catch up; a restaurant would take a large amount of high explosives in the back) and "totally automated cars are completely feasible and will never cause fatalities when they malfunction." It's got to be a perfect-world-versus-horrible-decaying-world mentality.

I understand that you are being intentionally daft for the point of argument, but what part of "would be inherently safer, even taking failures into consideration" did you have difficulty comprehending? Even with a given failure rate in some sort of automated system, an automated system with a human in the vehicle is without any reasonable question far safer than one driven entirely by a human. A car doesn't eat and drink while driving, drive drunk, have conversations, turn around to smack the kids, finger a smoke in one hand, listen to the radio, try and read a book or newspaper, get dressed, put on make-up, shave, have the reaction time of a slug, have arguments with other people in the vehicle, make phone calls, text-message, or any other countless risky behaviors that huge portions of drivers regularly engage in.

As for your quoting a statement that I never made in any way (much less a quotable one) about "totally automated cars are completely feasible and will never cause fatalities when they malfunction". Well, nobody said that. I said the likely failure rate of automation would be far better than the fatality rate of human driving.

Most people are dangerous drivers at least some of the time. However, the most dangerous drivers are the elderly and those under twenty-four years of age. Public safety surpasses any need for "a feeling of independence" and an automated vehicle system would help both (all, actually) groups retain mobility and independence, just without the need of physically controlling every action of the vehicle at all times. I don't see why there is any issue with that. Do people get their tits twisted over the idea of a microwave stealing their vitality and independence versus building and stocking a fire so they can whip out a cast iron pan and cook dinner over it?

Also, I don't follow soccer, but I think you may have a confused understanding of the game. I seem to recall that there are only twenty-two players on a soccer field, not 300. I also think you may suffer some confusion over various political ideologies if automation as a compromise to allowing independence without the significant risk of very young and old drivers strikes you as "socialist".

Re:Auto-car. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161528)

They also complain about seatbelts and think that old cars are safer ... should we listen?

Re:Auto-car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161402)

truck-nuts dangling off the back.

America! Fuck Yeah!

Re:Auto-car. (2, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161408)

Snowflake won't have enough leg room in anything less!

Re:Auto-car. (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161424)

yes, i would love that. Then people would run around with HERC cannons and watch the mayhem, put it on youtube.

Re:Auto-car. (2, Interesting)

The Shootist (324679) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161460)

To paraphrase Mr Heinlein, "forget Republican or democrat, left or Right; there are two kinds of people in the world, those who wish to control others, and those who have no such desire."

Re:Auto-car. (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161540)

I suspect the bigger trick; beyond the technology(if GPSes with pre-digested machine-format maps, and RTS units in fully computer-generated environments, with perfect knowledge of the location of all objects in the virtual space, are still fucking it up, real world systems with sensors and machine vision and stuff have a way to go...) will be the liability allocation.

With human controlled cars, the human is presumed to be the responsible agent, unless the vehicle can specifically be proven to be at fault(ie. brake failures under normal use, flipping over and catching fire if you tap a wall at 10mph, spontaneous acceleration, etc.). Humans are actually pretty miserable drivers, especially the distracted, tired, intoxicated, bored, old, trying-to-outrun-the-cops, and other pathological case ones; but the liability for the deaths, injuries, and property damage caused is spread out across a huge number of them in a fairly thin layer.

Now, if the car were automated, there would be a strong case to be made that the car, and thereby its manufacturer, is the responsible agent. Even if a car achieved, say, a factor of 10 reduction in accidents(not wildly implausible, with some technological advance), the amount of liability incurred by the manufacturer would be absolutely crippling.

It would take a sea-change in how accident liability is allocated for automated vehicles to make it out of test tracks, rail systems, and specific instances(like antilock brakes).

Re:Auto-car. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161542)

We already have transportation that doesn't require a license. It's called planes, trains, and automobuses.

Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (5, Insightful)

complacence (214847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33160994)

The zero-fatality car is stationary and has no passenger or pilot space.

Re:Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161190)

Lies! A car-sized bomb fits your description and can cause PLENTY of fatalities!

Re:Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161286)

Two hundred years ago a horseless carriage was impossible. 150 years ago an airplane was impossible. 100 years ago a computer was impossible. 50 years ago a cell phone was impossible.

Re:Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161530)

Nobody is saying that a specific kind of technology is impossible. Just that it's impossible that that technology will never kill anyone.

Re:Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161414)

Yeah, but with sufficiently advanced technology you can make cars as safe as air or (modern) rail.

(If you count suicides the trains lose to cars already, but that's probably unfair since suicides are not exactly accidents.)

Re:Impossible everywhere but in PRspeak (2, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161570)

Nope... Sadly, car bombs have proven that a stationary car with no (remaining) passenger or pilot space can be quite fatal.

"Will your next car look something like this?" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33160998)

You mean like a Nissan Z with its nosed bashed in? I hope not.

pedestrians (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161002)

So how about the pedestrians?

NOTICE! (5, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161004)

WARNING: You are exceeding the speed-limit by 5 mph, we will alert the authorities...

WARNING: Your car is overdue for it's monthly maintenance check and will not start after august 1.

WARNING: You took that corner too fast for current conditions, we have alerted the authorities.

WARNING: Your car has exceeded it's 5 year life span and has been terminated. Please contact your dealer for a great deal on a new one.

Re:NOTICE! (2, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161114)

WARNING: O RELY? A11 y0ur bas3s ar3 b3l0nging to us n0w.

[Car smashes into concrete wall at 170MPH...]

WARNING NON dealer lube job done go to dealer now! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161130)

WARNING NON dealer lube job done go to dealer now!

Re:NOTICE! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161182)

Exactly. I don't generally drive anything made after about 1975. :P

Re:NOTICE! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161326)

Exactly. I don't generally drive anything made after about 1975. :P

GASP! I hope you have the proper permits for that! You could put someones eye out or even perhaps enjoy driving it!?!

Re:NOTICE! (-1, Troll)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161194)

WARNING: You are a paranoid idiot who is trying to cover up his fear of change by attempts at being witty

Re:NOTICE! (2, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161270)

WARNING: You are a paranoid idiot who is trying to cover up his fear of change by attempts at being witty,

NO U!

Re:NOTICE! (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161420)

Seriously dude, if you're that worried then use your 1337 haxor skilz and reflash the damn computer(s).

Re:NOTICE! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161562)

Seriously dude, if you're that worried then use your 1337 haxor skilz and reflash the damn computer(s).

Because the car is always watching me and asks "What are you doing Dave?" and my name isn't even Dave.... Creepy fucking dashboard paper clip... I should have never bought an iCar....

Re:NOTICE! (2, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161482)

WARNING: Don't attempt to drive your 5-ton high center-of-mass SUV like it's a Porsche GT4.

Sounds like zero-vulnerability network security (4, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161010)

The way to achieve perfect security for a computer is unplug it from the network, and never turn it on. I guess the only way to prevent anyone from ever dying in a new Volvo is to prevent them from entering it...

It sounds possible to me (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161340)

.... if you limit the speed to 30mph and fit missile launchers to destroy anything which comes towards you at more than 30mph

Re:Sounds like zero-vulnerability network security (2, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161466)

Seriously. I have a vision of somebody with a bumper sticker that triggers other cars' pedestrian avoidance system to slam on the brakes because it sees a "person". That'd be lovely on the highway.

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161024)

That car looks even more dangerous to me than my 'dumb car'. Too many systems seem to be given higher priority in controlling the car than the driver. What happens when some jackass spoofs his car location, and my Auto-Magical-iSmart-Safe collision detection forces me to swerve off the road to avoid a radar ghost?

Terminator car (3, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161042)

Think of the military applications! The Army should start putting every soldier in a new Volvo. You can shoot at them, you can bomb them, you can even throw tactical nukes at them...but they keep coming!

Should we be worried about the coming Swedish blitzkrieg?

Re:Terminator car (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161368)

Hell, we can even send somebody up in one to probe the innards of the Sun.

2020 (2, Insightful)

EnglishSteve (834757) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161058)

'By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.'

By 2020, nobody may be able to afford a new Volvo, so we'll keep driving the 20 year old deathtrap ones.

Re:2020 (1, Flamebait)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161236)

Volvo drivers are shitty at driving anyway. They buy a car because they assume they'll hit a lot of things.

I find that hard to believe... (3, Insightful)

Mortiss (812218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161094)

As much as Id like to believe all these new and wonderful technologies, I wouldn't underestimate the ability of human beings to inflict a grevious harm on themeselves in the most creative ways. You may have the zero-fatality car but the guy plowing into you head first might not and the result would most likely be just as fatal. OTOH, every bit of safety counts.

Building the Zero-Fatality Car (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161098)

'By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.'

To the guy who said

But what about those outside the Volvo?

its still a good question though, those outside matter. I hope Volvos goals are not so narrow they haven't forgotten them.
Plus I hope this is't a marketing ploy.

Re:Building the Zero-Fatality Car (2, Informative)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161214)

Now I also advise read the article first

The goal is unique in that Volvo Cars has designated a year and is showing a social responsibility that also extends to people in other vehicles and pedestrians,

. Please heed this advise kids before its to late, and you make an ass of your self.

Don't see the big deal (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161108)

My car hasn't killed anyone yet either, meaning it too is a zero-fatality car. And I'll get a new one, if it does. Also how much are these cars going to cost for this improvement in safety? I'd rather occasionally kill people with my car slightly more often than pay a huge amount extra for a minuscule safety improvement. More important, the insurance costs on my car (a 92 Honda Civic BTW) are pretty low (around $50 a month in insurance). That's a concrete measure that indicates I already don't have much risk associated with the vehicle.

Re:Don't see the big deal (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161210)

There are lots of cars just like yours, though, that have been involved in collisions and killed their occupants or others. maybe the driver wasn't paying attention. Maybe they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe that death could have been prevented with a slightly-different curve in the body.

Re:Don't see the big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161490)

But I would rather have that you pay a huge amount extra for a car that improve my safety than you kill me (occasionally). Actually I will start lobbing for the improved safety features to be required by law in all new cars.

The six-million-dollar car (2, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161112)

The problem is that safety costs money. There's the materials involved, which aren't cheap. There's the engineering, which isn't (or shouldn't be) cheap. There's the electronics, which are getting cheaper. There's the redundancy, which isn't cheap. People don't like saving their own lives when it costs money or time to do so.

That said, I sincerely hope this takes off, and that by some miracle of economics it's affordable. We have the technology...

Re:The six-million-dollar car (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161142)

The problem is that safety costs money.

Economy of scale is in full swing when it comes to cars. We have a billion or so of them on the roads, it is quite easy to drive down prices at that scale. Do you remember when airbags were expensive extras?

Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161160)

"It includes not just new protective measures in the car, but technology for communicating dangers to and from the car."

Good luck preventing serious injury or death from that jackknifed 18 wheeler that smashes into your car.

So what happens when... (5, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161202)

...a semi truck falls off of an overpass and lands on top of one?

...a semi truck going 200mph the other direction crosses the median?

...a semi truck going 200mph on the other road runs a red light?

...that logging truck in front of you loses its cargo?

...that banana truck in front of you loses its cargo, and sends you through the guardrail?

...you run out of gas while crossing the train tracks?

...some idiot leaves their kids in one with windows up for "just a couple minutes" during the middle of summer?

...someone decides to carjack you?

Re:So what happens when... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161378)

Wait... You can get a semi to 200mph?

On a serious note... There's no excuse for the kid left in the car. But there is existing technology to handle this: If there's a person in the car and the interior temperature exceeds x, automatically roll down the windows and set off the alarm.

Simple low-tech solution to deliver this today (1, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161218)

Why wait a decade when you can just remove the seat belts and install a big spike in the centre of the steering wheel? I can't see very many people who are going to drive dangerously in *that* vehicle.

Well, not more than once...

Some how I doubt (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161272)

That 0-fatality will apply if some idiot manages to drive it off of a bridge, especially if it ends up in a river.

Re:Some how I doubt (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161412)

Uh huh [wikimedia.org] ...

Didn't Cordwainer Smith write a series of books... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161274)

...about the problems with a zero-fatality society?

Re:Didn't Cordwainer Smith write a series of books (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161534)

Ah, the Harlan Ellison "I am pissed at how the story goes so I am using an alias" name. I thought that he stopped using that after the fiasco that was the Starlost television series from 1972.

Drinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161298)

If we can't hurt ourselves or others does this mean its okay to drunk drive again?

Zero fatality car... (5, Insightful)

AhabTheArab (798575) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161330)

Is that something like the unsinkable Titanic?

Volvo in 10 years.. (2, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161334)

Volvo has just been bought by Geely, a chinese firm.

Sure the chinese have promised to keep volvo volvo, not to mess with the whole swedish safety stuff, but what car brand has ever been taken over and NOT changed significantly towards the new parent company? Hell, all current volvos sit on Ford chassis.

Good luck making a zero fatality car with the chinese at the helm...

Pet Rock Car (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161354)

My Pet Rock Car from the 70's ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_rock [wikipedia.org] ) has never had a fatality.

Now, if I could only remember where I parked it . . .

They expect to be out of business that soon? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161356)

> 'By 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.'

Might happen if, by 2020, nobody shall be in a new Volvo at all.

Will your next car look something like this? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161362)

No... More like this [ponoko.com]

You can't make it idiot proof (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161366)

The idiots will find new and more idiotic ways to kill themselves. Or worse, kill those around their volvo. I wonder if the zero-fatality car would have to include a way of measuring the driver's blood-alcohol level?

One can be had today (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161388)

Zero-fatality cars are simple. You need to have them move no faster than 22km/h. That makes the greatest collision 44km/h, and that is not dissimilar to a collision between athletes. That said, the overall goal is not ridiculous. More people died in the 20th century of car accidents than by war.

a mistake, believing your car is that safe (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161394)

The more likely you make it that you'll survive an accident in the car the more likely you make it that people will take chances when driving and so produce more accidents. And, there are simply accidents you will not survive.

On the news last night was a note about a pickup tuck that hit a truck cab from behind, riding up onto the hitch, followed by a school bus and then a second school bus rear-ending the first. In other words the pickup truck got turned into compressed scrap between the truck cab and the first school bus. I cannot imagine any car engineered to survive that and remain affordable. The driver of the pickup truck was killed as well as one student on one of the school buses. I cannot imagine anyone engineering an affordable gasoline efficient (for these days) car that would survive such an accident.

On a lighter note, one comedian, I cannot remember who, made a suggestion that I think had some merit because it would make people pay more attention to their driving and really make them want to avoid accidents as much as possible; a six inch steel spike standing up from the middle of the steering wheel. I had a similar experience owning my first car, a 1962 Volkswagon Van. There was nothing between you and the traffic ahead of you except a single sheet of metal and the control console. You rear-end anything with any force while you were driving that and you'd lose your legs at least.

It won't matter anyway. The city I live in is doing everything it can to banish cars from the city. They're putting up so many bicycle only permeable barriers, barricades and traffic calming measures they'll eventually decide that it will be simpler to try and enact a ban on private vehicles.

Auto-stopping for pedestrians, wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161418)

The car will detect pedestrians and automatically slam on the brakes. Really? So in the future I can just run in front of any moving vehicle quickly and mess the driver up? Cars must stop at my whim?

mo^3 down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33161430)

Solution Calculated (5, Funny)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161442)

Car: Your ex-husband has a gun. He seems agitated.
Car: His blood pressure is rising, and his pupils are dilated.
Car: Considering prime directive of zero fatalities in a new Volvo...
Car: ...Solution calculated. Please exit the vehicle.

We'll need something to replace/supplement GPS. (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161444)

A lot of these vehicle status broadcast systems they're proposing rely on accurate location data for the vehicles, and quite often the term "GPS" is used to infer that's what they'll be using as a source.

Anyone who's driven a car inside a tunnel or inside a building/carpark knows that GPS is shit and doesn't work unless you're out in the open. Locations in tunnels could probably be taken care of with low-power FM beacons sending their lat/long/AMSL at regular intervals through the tunnel (additional infrastructure installed and maintained by the appropriate transport authority) assuming GPS(-style) receivers also have the capability to detect these signals and interpolate between the two strongest signals. But could the similar systems be used in carparks and such? Could government force their installation, or even install and maintain them themselves?

Fatally flawed!! (2, Interesting)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161462)

Great concept, but there are some rather glaring problems.

Let's take the "Pedestrian detection with auto brake" feature for example:
http://www.volvocars.com/intl/top/about/corporate/volvo-sustainability/safety/pages/pedestrian-detection-with-full-auto-brake.aspx [volvocars.com]

Lovely in theory, except for all the moronic teens who will delight in jumping out in front of Volvos confident that the car can't hit them. You're going to have idiot kids hit by drivers of old style cars, as well as a whole bunch of tail end collisions caused by this. It'd render roads near schools undrivable at closing time.

Oh, and you have to love the fact that they're adding a warning light that flashes when it sees a problem. Which seems to miss the fact that the warning light itself is going to immediately distract you, and make it more likely that you're not going to see the pedestrian it's trying to warn you of.

While backed by the best of intentions, I just can't see this becoming reality for a long while.

Demolition Man (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161502)

I liked the expanding foam protective material in the car from the movie Demolition Man. There is a great deal that can be done to make a car safe(r) but it is ridiculous to think that a car can truly be "zero fatalities". If you have ever seen what happens when it is car vs. train it would be prohibitively expensive to make a vehicle safe enough to take that title.

In the human body there are many types of deceleration injuries that will kill you. Some are cou contra-coup brain injuries and accidents where the heart is actually torn off of the aorta by G forces.

I wish them luck in designing better vehicles that are still affordable to own. We are getting away from people being impaled on the steering wheel or ending up as a quadriplegic because the car roof collapsed in a rollover accident. Folks still die from driving under the back end of a tractor trailer, being incinerated or killed by loose objects in a car.

More Obese Cars? (2, Insightful)

rebmemeR (1056120) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161504)

So we'll cocoon ourselves in masses of materials designed to make us safe? You can talk about light materials but the overall trend is the opposite. Cars used to be under 2000 pounds and now they are 3500+ pounds, even with the materials technology gains we've had. Weight is the number one factor in determining fuel mileage. So we may avoid crashes, but then we will die from air pollution and other environmental footprint due to cars. We will feel safe driving air conditioned cars through globally-warmed deserts. Until gas is $30 per gallon, people (Americans especially) will slurp gas like there's no tomorrow.

Red Barchetta (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161538)

What, no mention of how Modern Safety Vehicles will impact drivers? No mention of Red Barchetta [wikipedia.org] or A Nice Morning's Drive [mgexperience.net] ?

You'll have jackasses in these Volvos running anybody else off the road, just because they can.

when were the laws of physics repealed (2, Interesting)

steak (145650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161556)

until they can stop your organs from slamming into your rib cage there will always be auto fatalities.

Avatars (1)

kotku (249450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161566)

, which will all drive around in beautiful zero fatality volvo cars going to parties where they get high on "zero hangover" electro stimulatives whilst our physical bodies lie comfortable in the "zero bedsores" reality projection gel units.

Bricklin SV-1 anyone? or an AMF ESV? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33161574)

http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z9596/Bricklin-SV1.aspx [conceptcarz.com]

or perhaps these?

http://books.google.com/books?id=kcwHCy6F4vcC&lpg=PA54&ots=FLN5TmAJOf&dq=ESV%20AMF&pg=PA54#v=onepage&q=ESV%20AMF&f=false [google.com]

or better yes, the AMF ESV

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv21/09-0480.pdf [dot.gov]

the ESV PDF is very good.

In other words, what goes around comes around. We keep striving for perfect or near perfect safety and technology is getting closer to giving it to us, however I think the ultimate requirement is that we hand over driving to computers and by then why would you want a car?

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