This is really an innovative feature that is not just some goodie offered but is a right foot forward concerning passenger safety.
If such an air bag can protrude when an impending pedestrain collision is detected, the same system should also try to brake the car or steer it clear of the pedestrain safely enough for the in-car passengers to avoid the collision.
The case of a pedestrain is slightly different compared to the in-car passengers. The in car passengers are confined in a closed space and the airbag is aprefect protection for them against hitting the car body, steering wheel or dash board.
But a pedestrian has a possibility of being thrown away even after hitting the ballon instead of the car body. So simultaneous braking of the car or swerving it away from the pedestrain would help in minimising the impact, in my opinion.
@prabhakar, i agree with you that this feature cannot give a complete safety net for pedesterian but it will weaken the collision impact. During accident, the first point of contact is usually the legs and the front of the car so there must be something there too for safety.
I think technically braking and steering away is possible. However, in some pedestrian collision scenarios, there is hardly any time for reacting. Therefore, if the automatic collision avoidance handles such cases, sudden steering and braking may cause problems for the passengers on board (especially the youngsters).
I think elecronically the embedded systems onboard a car can react within very narrow time frames (i.e. microseconds), however, we should not forget that a car is an electromechanical device and there are physical factors such as momentum, acceleration and weight and their effects on the passengers that also have to be taken into account. Therefore, electrical response speeds do not give the complete picture of what is involved.
Great, just what drivers need, another device to make them more lazy than they already are. Shouldn't drivers be focused on avoiding pedestrians in the first place as opposed to having airbags that protect the car against pedestrians? Why not have frontal or aft sensors that can detect a body working in harmony with the braking system to avoid hitting the pedestrian?
Should someone jump from a building or a bridge and land on the hood of the helpless Volvo, how would the car sense this? Oh someone at the factory sure didn't think this one through. Probably the same knucklehead that thought automating a car with a synch system that allows you to read emails and texts while driving taking your eyes away from the road instead of concentrating on it!
DarkAngel: I think the external airbag is to protect the pedestrian rather than the car...:-) This particular system also provides sensors to detect an object (aforementioned pedestrian) to prevent a collision in the first place. But relying on sensors in general is a bad practice--but used in combination with a alert driver, both the car and the public stand a better chance of coming away from an average errand unscathed.
@Barbara, I agree with you on that, I feel there should be a measure on the rate at which our lives activities are becoming more dependent on electronics. If care is not taken, we may become so lazy even in thinking just because the is a device that it handling that natural task for us
@Flyingscot, Well, I dont think this should have anything to do with increase in the car price because while this might be a good marketing edge for Volvo, It is also some of the safty measures a car should have. People are not going to buy this car only because it has a special air bag but much more than that more features that tends to give more comfort.
I am a big fan of the idea of external security features for minimizing fatal injuries caused by collisions. The idea is so impressive that I think, like the EU, all other countries, including the less developed economies (that are usually less regulated as well), should introduce this as compulsory law to be implemented by the automobile manufacturers. The customers should'nt mind bearing its cost and I am sure, its cost wont be significant enough to reduce sales.
I haven't seen any cost data attached to this feature. It looks like it is being rolled out as part of a whole new Volvo platform and is probably factored into total cost. But it would be interesting to see it broken out.
I agree that this might be one more option that makes drivers "lazy." But I can't think of anything more frightening than seeing an item -- a garbage can, a cardboard box, anything --flying over the front bumper of my car. I hope I am never complacent enough that that doesn't scare me.
Great idea! I'd love it if I were in the embarrassing situation of hitting someone in front of me. On the other hand, if I stupidly hit something else; garbage can, cardboard box, stuff that fell off that truck, etc. I wouldn't be too happy replacing that $2000 airbag.
Why stop there? What I want is a bigger airbag on the outside of the car that deploys when I hit another car or retaining wall. Now you've got something that would be a game changer, like seatbelts and later, airbags.
We tested a "front of vehicle" airbag for a private inventor back in about 2002. It was quite effective but it would have been quite expensive as well. And what does happen when it fires while on the expressway a chunk of trash flies up in front of you, and it triggers. Because it must sense very quickly and at some distance out. That much is physics. Who pays for those repairs when it fires accidentally? And the repairs will be a bit more than the $2000 mentioned already. One more question is whose fault is it when the thing fires in error and causes an accident? Please answer that one.
@William: I had the same questions regarding the airbag. Let me see what I can find. I know it costs about $2,000 to have an internal airbag reloaded in an average car. Lucklily, I have never experienced this. But if the truck in front of me loses a 2x4 or box that inflates the external airbag, you can be sure I would track them down! Maybe that is a new use for dashboard cameras: capturing the license plate of the vehicle in front of you.
Up in my area, deer and/or moose are also an issue. I wonder if there is an insurance option that covers this...
The forward looking camera is a realy interesting suggestion, indeed. IT would need a loop buffer that would be similar to what we developed for crash recording, which does a great job, but it is not simple.nor is it particularly cheap. But it could certainly be another game changer.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.