A Youtube video taken in the Dominican Republic featured a Volvo XC60 reversing, pausing and then plowing pedestrians at speed. The unit is said to be self-parking, but people speculate a flaw in its design and programming after it recklessly knocked down spectator journalists trying to capture the car in action.
In an interview, Volvo representative Johan Larson denied malfunction in the car’s design, but said the owner may have failed to pay the extra cost of a certain program Pedestrian Detection Functionality, which allows the self-parking car to sense pedestrians and self-drive accordingly.
Larson clarified that all self-parking Volvos come with the standard features of auto breaks to avoid other cars, but owners need to purchase a separate package for the car to spot humans. The said package uses radar and camera to distinguish pedestrians.
It may also be true that the Volvo XC60 in the video is equipped with the Pedestrian Detection Functionality, but that the driver may have turned it off accidentally. Thus, inactivating the feature when the car slammed into the spectators, Larson stated. It is possible for a driver to override and deactivate the car’s auto features.
According to reports, the two men in the video who were slammed by the car “were bruised but are ok” and said that the “the drivers forgot to turn on City-Safe mode”. Reports explained that activating City-Safe mode prevents the car from crashing into pedestrians and other cars when they are moving at 30 miles per hour or less. Still, the feature, despite activated, could not detect humans.
Well, what good is a self-parking car when it cannot park safely and carefully, without crashing into cars and humans in particular? Volvo should know better than having buyers purchase a separate yet critical feature as the Pedestrian Detection Functionality as if it were just optional. If anything, the human detection feature should be considered a standard function alongside car detection because parking lots do not just have cars in them, but pedestrians, too. Unless all of the vehicles are self-parking, that is.