As a personal injury lawyer in Seattle, I’m always intrigued to hear about the latest car safety technology that hits the market. Volvo was the first automaker to unveil auto-braking technology in it’s XC60 crossover vehicle in 2009, and has continued to enhance it’s technology by now including pedestrian detection in addition to car detection.
The software, dubbed the “City Safety System”, employs laser sensors to determine if slow-moving or stopped vehicles present a threat. It evaluates driver input to determine whether intervention is necessary. In the event that the driver doesn’t move around the object or begin braking, the car will begin braking itself and can make a complete stop from 22mph. Other vehicles like the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes Benz S-Class also have pedestrian detection software but it only serves to warn the driver, not to intervene.
When tested, the pedestrian detection software worked remarkably well, but not without some glitches. When the car is in a crowd of people with several bystanders, the software did not intervene and stop the car. However, this was only in one testing incidence, and might not always be the case. Paying attention and not driving distracted is still the best way to avoid a car accident with a pedestrian.
This new technology will be available in Volvo’s most popular vehicle model, the S60, in fall of 2010. However, you’ll have to purchase it for an additional $2,100 as part of their technology package, according to this article.