Volvo is recalling more than 120,000 vehicles from the 2019 and 2020 model years because their automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems with pedestrian detection might not recognize obstacles. According to a report in Consumer Reports, a crash could occur that might have been prevented. Almost every Volvo car built between November 2018 and March 2020 is affected including the XC40, XC60, and XC90 SUVs; S60 and S90 sedans; and V60, V60 Cross Country, V90, and V90 Cross Country station wagons.
Volvo has said there have not been any reports of incidents or injuries from this issue. Volvo started using new hardware for its AEB system, but that equipment might not be compatible with the software installed on certain vehicles built before March 2020. As a result, the AEB system might not detect pedestrians. When the recall begins, Volvo dealers will update the incompatible software at no charge to consumers. Volvo will begin to contact vehicle owners in May. Those with questions are urged to call Volvo at 800-458-1552.
Pedestrian Detection Systems
Last year, research from AAA revealed that automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection tend to perform inconsistently and proved to be completely ineffective at night. This was an alarming finding, considering 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark. Researchers found that the systems were also challenged by real-world situations such as a vehicle turning right into the path of an adult. AAA’s testing found that in such a scenario that was simulated, the systems did not react at all, colliding with the adult pedestrian target each time.
AAA said automakers should continue to develop these systems, especially when it comes to functionality at night and in circumstances where drivers are most likely to encounter pedestrians. On average, nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year in the United States, accounting for 16% of all traffic deaths. This is a percentage that has steadily grown since 2010.
Auto Product Liability Issues
This recall is yet another cause for concern at a time when the efficacy of automated and semi-automated systems is being called into question. It is indeed dangerous when motorists begin to rely on these systems, which then fail completely or fail to work as intended. For example, a motorist who drives a Volvo vehicle with these pedestrian detection systems might rely on it too much, which could prove disastrous.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of failed vehicle safety systems, you may be able to seek compensation from the automaker for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization and pain and suffering. An experienced auto defect lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.