Is Volvo’s “cyclist detection system” necessary?

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Automobile maker Volvo says they’ve developed a new safety system that detects bicyclists and automatically applies the brakes if the bicyclist veers into the path of the car.

I thought all cars already had such a safety device — it’s called the driver.

If motorists pay attention to the road in front of them, and I know that is a big “if” sometimes, then they can stop their cars if they see a bicyclist veer into their path.

I’d hate to think that motorists would rely on a scanner to watch the road for them while they fiddle around with the radio, CD player, or text on the phone.

The Sweden-based car maker introduced the device at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this week.

Called Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake, the system scans the road ahead for cyclists traveling in the direction of the car as it approaches from behind. If it appears a collision is about to take place, the system applies full braking power.

According to a press release:

“The car’s speed has considerable importance for the outcome of an accident. A lower speed of impact means that the risk of serious injury is significantly reduced.”

The system uses a radar in the grill, a camera pointing forward from the rear-view mirror, and a central control unit.

The device is an option on the Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70, S80 and the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid. Since this was rolled out in Europe, it may not be available yet in the United States.

If Volvo wants to use its scanner technology, how about a device that scans the car operator’s eyeballs to see where he or she is looking. If the eyes stray from the road, a warning sounds — “Keep your eyes on the damn road!”

The website suggested a speed sensor that renders the car incapable of traveling faster than the posted speed limit.

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    • Bob on March 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    • Reply

    In the case of Jeff Littman here in WI, who was hit because of glare from the early morning sunshine, this may have spared him. This has become a concern of mine since a lot of my cycling is in the early morning or evening.

  1. Point well taken, Bob. I’m sure the radar component wouldn’t be affected by the sunlight, but I don’t know about the camera. I don’t if they tested that aspect or not. Stay safe out there…

    • Rich on March 9, 2013 at 10:00 am
    • Reply

    Personally I can’t wait for the day something like this comes on all new cars. While in an even close to perfect world this shouldn’t be needed have you watched what the driver next to you is doing?
    Many new cars come with a computer built into the dash encouraging drivers to take their eyes off the road. Somebody or something needs to be watching the road. I’ll take the radar system. They don’t apply makeup,eat,text or get drunk.

    • Gary on March 11, 2013 at 8:39 am
    • Reply

    I might have missed something but the car stopped awfully sudden, wouldn’t this be a hazard in itself? maybe better to slow and swerve the other direction? What happens on fast moving roads moving say 45 – 65 mph?

    • Gary on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 am
    • Reply

    I totally agree something must be done for cyclist safety and cars, I applaud the effort of this car maker, I just hope it works well.

    But comes as a option? not good. Should be mandatory.

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