Pedestrians have the absolute right of way, and except in the most extreme circumstance – a child dashing out from between parked cars – the law will find the driver culpable in an accident. The presumption is that pedestrians are defenseless against automobiles and must be protected. Even so, the feds’ safety statistics suggest that pedestrians are more often to blame in these incidents. Dan Neil at the Wall Street Journal writes that Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake System is part of a suite of auto-piloting technologies the company calls City Safety. An option on the new S60 sedan, Pedestrian Detection employs various kinds of machine vision to identify, track, and, if possible, avoid hitting objects in the vehicle’s path that might be pedestrians. Scanning a broad fetch of electromagnetism, the system looks for moving, carbon-based life forms and compares what it sees to mathematical models of human pedestrians. In the next decade, look for similar technologies to coalesce into a sensory net around the vehicle, making it self-aware, allowing it to anticipate and avoid accidents, to compensate for drivers’ inattention, and to communicate with other vehicles and the road itself.
Jason on Volvo XC60: Safe as your …