Volvo accident a case of mistaken autonomous identity

Lindsey Caldwell - May 26, 2015, 11:30 pm CDT
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Volvo accident a case of mistaken autonomous identity

A combination of mistaken safety tech assumptions and over-confidence led to a failed “auto-parking” demonstration on the Volvo XC60, a car which doesn’t even have such features fitted. The video, widely circulated and shown after the cut, is billed as a demonstration of the vehicle’s driver assistance features for a crowd of spectators, who mistakenly expected the car to come to a halt on its own. Unfortunately, it seems the driver’s assumptions about the car’s behavior differed from what was actually programmed.

It first appears as though the car encounters a glitch while trying to self-park. Actually, Volvo reports that the car dealer was attempting a demonstration of City Safety system in the Volvo XC60.

While a standard-fit option across Volvo’s range, on its own the system lacks pedestrian detection, instead automatically braking in cases of low-speed city traffic to help avoid collisions. The ability to identify bystanders is available after an optional $3,000 upgrade.

Volvo spokesman Stefan Elfström attests that the car did not have the pedestrian detection feature. Furthermore, even if it did, the car should never be deliberately driven into a crowd. Elfström continues,

“In the video, the driver would anyway override any active safety system since he is actively accelerating towards to pedestrians…Volvo Cars strongly recommends never to perform any tests towards real humans, only dummies or similar objects should be used.”

You’re going to want to brace yourself before watching the auto-parking disaster for yourself. It starts off slowly, and ends with a bang. Thankfully, according to the video’s author and Volvo, no one was seriously injured.

Source: Time.com


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