Giz Tests Volvo's New Pedestrian Detection Tech

It's not quite the injury-proof car that Volvo is aiming for by 2020, but we reckon this is as close as it'll get. Volvo's world first pedestrian detection and auto-brake technology uses radar and cameras to detect people in the way, and if you don't brake in time, it'll do it for you. We wanted to see how this worked for ourselves, and here are the results on video.

Volve told us not to drive faster than 30km/h for obvious reasons of not wanting footage of its technology looking like a fail -- I tried to break that rule because I wanted to see what would happen if you were driving at a speed that you would more likely be doing in a real-world scenario. Volvo does make it very clear that once the speedometer ticks over 30km/h it's no longer about not injury prevention but injury mitigation.

The Pedestrian Detection technology is being debuted first on the Volvo S60 (the $50,000 car you see in the video), but it's coming to the Swedish car manufacturer's full line-up of vehicles as new models roll off the conveyor belt.

Like Adaptive Cruise Control in the Ford Focus, Pedestrian Detection will need to be purchased as part of an addon package. The technology is still relatively new, but we can expect it to eventually go the way of Volvo's City Safety system, which debuted on the Volvo XC60 4WD in 2008, and now comes standard on all new Volvo vehicles.

What we're wondering is if it will lead to complacency, kinda like reverse parking cameras have made us less likely to look over our shoulder and check our blind spots. Will technology like Volvo's pedestrian detection and auto-brake technology feed our complacency and make us worse drivers?


    Yes it will make people worse drivers.

    Seriously guys driving isn't that hard. Pay attention, that means no texting or talking on the phone. Look around you, use your mirrors and slow down. Finally practice! The amount of bad drivers I see that are bad because they don't have the confidence or skills, and it really comes down to the fact that they never practice. They just get in their car once a week to go to the shops and cause accidents.

      The 1000s of dead people each year (if they could) would disagree with you :-(

        not giving drivers license left and right would saved more...

      This about those minute number of times your brain is not switched on. Everybody has brain farts; this stuff is here to help us when we do.

    In the CGI animation at the start I was waiting for the pedestrian to walk out from in front of the now stopped volvo only to get mown down by the p-plater driven hyundai speeding past the stopped car

    tempted to step out infront of one of these cars next time i see one....

    or not..

    I can see this coming in handy in shopping centre car parks. People are always stepping out in front of cars and drivers are always distracted looking for that one empty spot. That sort of usage works within the 30 KM/hr restriction too.

    IMHO, like most technologies.. They are there to assist us in big/small things we do in our lives. People will always vouch for convenience whenever possible. However, to be completely reliant on it without any human supervision, we are still far far away from such feats. Especially, when it involves human lives. Even space technologies, would still have some sort of supervision done manually by people.

    This technology, will help somewhat reduce the risks of drivers running into pedestrians at the odd chances that you happen to be looking at a pretty woman in a figure hugging red mini dress walking on the side of a street, while moving under 30km/h. It will not, however, reduce the amount of traffic accidents significantly.

    Take simulations/games for instance, they would have some sort assist to help its users learn the full mechanics and use of its features. Ultimately, you want to be able to be good at it.

    Same with driving, more of these functions should exist, whilst drivers learn how to check mirrors, do head checks, and be aware of their surroundings. Practice it everyday, and you will become better at it.

    In saying that, the numbers of people that drive dangerously and lacks confidence seem to be increasing. Which leads me to still stick to what I always say to my mates when it comes to driving. "The only dangerous thing about driving is other people.." (of course in a humorous note, not to mention self awareness i.e. not under the influence of any substance, etc. while driving is paramount)

    To end the rant, I just wish to say that a little care for others, goes a long way. Even while driving, try to give way or put a hand up of thanks if given way. Be more aware of your surroundings. Check mirrors and blind spots often enough. Drive safe, arrive alive, I don't know what other slogans the road governing bodies use.

    Regards, WJ.

    30km/hr isn't very helpful... that's car park speeds at best. at that speed it's not even going to help in school zones.
    i'd like to see what happens when you're travelling at 50-60km/hr with that system. what kind of injuries would we be talking about, and would it be any better than an average joe driving a corolla whos paying slight attention to the road?

      Obviously early days for the technology. Any saving of death or injury is worth it. I'm sure they will be able to improve it over time to handle greater speeds, but stopping distance will always be an issue.

    You can say that people should rather improve their skills... but they won't. Any assistance is good assistance because not everyone takes pride in doing something properly. Unfortunately those people are driving old vehicles.
    Also collisions can happen when the person at fault isn't even doing anything wrong. When that is the case it is /definitely/ worth it.

    What I would like to know is will this also work with cyclists and motorcyclists? I have been hit waaaaaay too many times on my motorbike and this probably could have prevented me from being hospitalised. Fingers crossed.

    This is very, very bad...

    "Volvo does make it very clear that once the speedometer ticks over 30km/h it’s no longer about not injury prevention but injury mitigation."

    Harold Scruby will use this to insist that we must all drive at a maximum speed of 30km/h now for pedestrian safety.

    His idiotic views will be plastered all over the newspapers, someone will say "think of the children" and moronic state revenuers will start setting 30km/h as the new speed limit in built-up areas.

    Is motoring the only area where you pay for the Beta version and get it free once it's been perfected?

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