Articles Comments

Velo-City: Perth » Advocacy, hot news, Safety » Volvo announces cyclist detector

Volvo announces cyclist detector

Although we don’t usually take a lot of interest in autoshows, who could resist the blurb from Volvo about their new cyclist detector? Doug Speck, Senior VP of Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo, literally rolled out another Volvo world first in car safety yesterday when he arrived on stage at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show press conference riding a bicycle. He announced that Volvo will incorporate a scanner technology that detects and automatically brakes for cyclists swerving out in front of the car. This is an enahcement of current technology that detects pedestrians (and apparently moose, as well, if we are to believe Volvo’s publicity shots).

"Yikes", said the Moose

Why is the moose looking nervous?

Because technology doesn't change the fact he is dealing with a Volvo driver









But back to the matter in hand.
The camera and radar-guided technology will be rolled out in May in the Volvo V40, S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 models.

According to Volvo, the data that supports the technology shows that “about 50 per cent of all cyclists killed in European traffic have collided with a car”. This kind of statement always bring out the rabid in us. Granted most crashes occur at intersections where two moving bodies might well collide, but a fairly common, and often fatal, type of crash occurs when a motor vehicle driver, travelling at speed, rear ends a cyclist. To our way of thinking, this can’t be fairly described as the bike colliding with the car. “Mown down” seems more accurate. Likewise, we get a bit hot under the collar when “accident” is used as a hypernym for “crash”, swallowing up the nuance of the word and suggesting that it was nobody’s fault and couldn’t have been avoided.

Volvo’s cyclist detector will use cameras and sensors to scan the area ahead looking out for bicycle movements, deploying a warning and “full braking power” if a crash seems likely, although we aren’t sure what happens to the road users travelling behind if they don’t have similar technology.

Another topic, of course, is whether designing out our incompetence is the best way to go, or whether we should give more attention to educating all road users, but in the meantime, thumbs up to Volvo for at least considering cyclists in their design.

** The cartoon is from our favourite comics Wulffmorgenthaler, created by Danish writer/artist duo Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler

Written by

Filed under: Advocacy, hot news, Safety · Tags:

Leave a Reply