New Volvo pedestrian detection system brakes for you

February 25, 2011 by Lin Edwards report
The Volvo S60 sedan.

( -- Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo’s goal is that by 2020 nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo and their cars should not seriously injure or kill other road users or pedestrians. To help achieve this aim the company has developed a detection system for cars that can detect pedestrians, predict when they might move in front of the vehicle and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not.

The Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection system fitted in the 2011 model S60 was first announced early last year. It uses a computer fed by information from a wide-angle radar system that detects objects and monitors their speed and distance from the car, and from a camera fitted near the rear view mirror. Using this information the computer identifies the objects and determines if they are on a collision path.

If a collision is imminent the car gives the driver an audible and visual warning and brakes hard if the driver does not react quickly enough. At speeds under 35 km/h a collision is prevented, while at higher speeds it may not be possible to avoid a collision but the impact and subsequent injuries are reduced.

The system has been successfully tested with a dummy, but is not completely foolproof because in one trial the dummy was hit even when the car was traveling below 35 km/h. This could have been because crowds gathered on either side of the track confused the system, which worked perfectly when the crowds moved back.

Other computer systems in the Volvo S60 include an alarm triggered by random or uncontrolled weaving of the car to wake the tired or distracted driver and warning lights on the outside mirrors to warn of vehicles they cannot see. Another system monitors lane dividers and warns the driver if they cross the dividers without first using a turning indicator. The headlamps are also under computer control and move to follow the curve of the road.

Volvo’s pedestrian detection system is not the first, since Mercedes-Benz and BMW have already introduced pedestrian detection in night vision displays, but Volvo is the first system to couple a detection system with automatic braking.

Explore further: New car tech: Not just crash protection, but prevention

More information: Volvo website

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not rated yet Feb 25, 2011
Honestly what they should do is have a heads up display on the windscreen of the car displaying the same picture as in the first video showing the tracking boxes on cars an people (in a perhaps more aesthetic way). A system highlighting the dangers seems safer to me than a system taking away control of the user.
not rated yet Feb 25, 2011
I worked on this sytem for Volvo so there are two things I would like to share. First it is the same systme that does pedestrian detection as does lane departure alert - not a separate system. And second this sytem already is a ~$2000 option, adding HUD and the video driver to run it would cost another $3000. I know because that is how we developed it.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2011
When pedestrians know that all vehicles have this system, it will be impossible to drive in a busy street.

Which, of course, some environment people will find welcome.
not rated yet Feb 25, 2011
When pedestrians know that all vehicles have this system, it will be impossible to drive in a busy street.

Which, of course, some environment people will find welcome.

Possibly, we'll have to increase the fine for causing such a system to engage. As in the video, someone could be drinking a hot beverage and spill it all over when the brakes are engaged. I'd have the camera system record a few hours of video so that any idiot who runs into the path of your car can be fined by police who will have surveillance evidence. For all the problems though, this type of thing will greatly reduce deaths and is necessary.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2011
I don't like the idea of taking control away from the driver when the system's actions could cause greater harm.
For example, the obvious case is if the control system has bugs or fails for whatever reason, it could lead to unexpected sudden braking and possibly a chain of rear-end collisions.

Another issue is judgment calls. In some situations it might be safer to swerve to avoid a collision rather than brake.

Also behaviorally, people could get used to the car doing the braking for them or even seek out dangerous braking situations just to see the system work!
not rated yet Feb 26, 2011
Bring this car on Indian roads, it will never move ;-)
not rated yet Feb 26, 2011
Ok, you are turning left at an intersection and a pedestrian is crossing, your car brakes and now you are getting T boned by a huge truck. It seems with this technology there are only two choices, hit someone walking doing 10-15mph or a passenger getting hit by a truck doing 40-45mph? We all know people take risks when driving like turning left without much distance between the oncoming vehicle. Maybe an alert system would be better so you can turn slightly to avoid the pedestrian instead of braking. Maybe a new approach? I may be missing something it is pretty late.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2011
if the control system has bugs or fails for whatever reason

I'm sure the Trial Lawyers Ass is already on it, with study groups on how to pick sympathetic juries, and has hired "scientists" to do "studies" that "prove" Volvo is killing babies with this system, even before anyone has had so much as a look at it yet.

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