We are in an era when technological advancements continue to occur exponentially. Safety and security in people’s lives has always been a major concern, and a significant amount of time and energy is spent researching new safety technology especially when it comes to preventing automobile related accidents according to an ABC news report. New software in cars alerts drivers who are backing up if there is an object in the way, installed video cameras allow the driver to see into blind spots and cars have even become equipped with the ability to parallel park on their own.
In an attempt to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents, new software technology in cars is being created. Volvo has created a program that senses when a pedestrian is in front of the vehicle and breaks to avoid a collision.
Volvo installed the program in a 2011 Volvo S60 and recorded a demonstration which showed the program in action. The car identified a significantly life-like dummy, initiated the breaking system and stopped to avoid hitting the pedestrian. Although there are already some similar “collision-avoiding” systems available in technologically advanced cars, this detection software will specifically prevent injuries or death caused by pedestrian related accidents.
Celesta Davis, a Volvo representative explained how the process. “The reflection of our bodies, because we’re made mostly of water, tells a radar that it’s closing in, a camera then takes a picture of the image and processes it against all stored images of humans. We have about 10,000 stored images in the computer, to determine that it is indeed a human being.”
As many movies carefully point out, technology is capable of malfunctioning or failing and sometimes human instinct and analysis is necessary. The Volvo software provides for such instances by flashing a warning light to the driver and only breaks if the driver does not respond. The driver can always tap lightly on the breaks to disengage the system.
The program is not capable of detecting small children and pets and only works up until the vehicle reaches 22 mph. The limitations of the program are simply a reminder that drivers should always pay attention regardless of their car’s “smart” features.