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The Mercury Cars Guide : October 2nd 2010
6--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, October 2, 2010 VOLVO Hiccup Volvo's blurred vision of safety IN PASSING SHORT-SIGHTED: Volvo continues to have problems with its pedestrian detection system. THE safety of Volvo's world-first pedestrian protection system is under fire again after a series of failed tests involving Australian journalists. The latest mishap follows a crash earlier in the year when a Volvo crashed into a truck instead of braking automatically to avoid it. This time the pedestrian detection system failed to trigger as the latest V60 approached a humanoid dummy during a demonstration at Verona in Italy. The incident also reveals that Volvo engineers discreetly modify the inflatable dummies to trick the car's radar system into detecting a pedestrian. More than 650 demonstrations passed without incident during the V60 press preview in Italy, but things went wrong for the Aussies. ''I am very sad this has happened. We know the technology works, but I am not happy with the demonstration methods we are using,'' says Jonas Tisell, Volvo's head of active safety. Volvo believes the failures, in which the dummy was struck a number of times, occurred because a small plastic panel covered in aluminium foil that sits in a sandbag at the dummy was not installed correctly. Volvo also suspects a tractor and trailer behind the dummy but some distance away confused the pedestrian warning system. ''The radar goes straight through the air- filled plastic dummy, so we put some aluminium inside in the sandbag at the dummy's feet so the radar could detect it,'' Tisell says. ''The reflector was not facing exactly the right way and instead the system detected the tractor . . . in the background. ''The camera told the system that there might be a pedestrian there because it detected the shape of a human, but when the radar went to search for it, it only picked up a faint signal for the dummy and got a more solid signal for the tractor.'' Tisell also defends the way the demonstration is run. ''The problem with an inflatable dummy is that it's plastic and has air inside,'' he says. ''The radar needs an echo, it looks for the body mass, and the radar doesn't bounce off an inflatable dummy. It cannot see it. It sees through it. ''So we added a radar reflector --- a 10cm piece of plastic covered in aluminium foil in the sandbag at the feet of the dummy. The system works on humans. With humans you have a mass the radar can detect.'' Tisell says he took the place of the test dummy during development of the system, though Volvo does not let journalists repeat the experiment. ''You never know what can happen,'' he says. Tisell insists there is no need to make any changes to the calibration of the pedestrian warning technology, but Volvo will review its public demonstration procedures for its crash avoidance systems. The 5000 dummies identical to the one at the centre of the latest bungle distributed to Volvo dealers worldwide could be updated with an aluminium belt that will help the system detect the dummy. PAUL GOVER Audi banks on customer loyalty' IMPORTANT CAR: The Audi A1 is an impressive city car that is set to sell well. THE smallest Audi could one day become the biggest seller. Audi will debut its new A1 compact city car at the International Motor Show in Sydney next month where it will announce pricing for the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and 1.6-litre turbo- diesel models. Audi Australia managing director Uwe Hagen says the A1 will be a ''volume seller''. ''The A4 is our current top seller along with the Q5 and the A3, but the A1 will be in the top three,'' Hagen says. ''In the long term it may even be our top seller.'' Hagen says the entry level Audi will be an important car for the company. ''You will have people coming in from volume brands --- young people who want a premium city car and empty-nesters who are used to a luxury brand but want something smaller. It really is an important car to us. ''The more you get into the brand at the bottom level the more you get to the top with loyalty to the brand over the years.'' Hagen also hints that an RS version could be coming. AtthelaunchoftheRS5at Phillip Island this week he said there was more scope for RS models. Audi no longer has the RS4, but has an RS6 sedan and wagon and aTTRS. ''We're looking for an RS in every model, except the A8,'' Hagen says. ''An A8 RS just doesn't make any sense.'' ''But an A1 RS? At the end of the day, yes.'' MARK HINCHLIFFE Hobart Autohaus 23 Barrack Street (Cnr Collins Street), Hobart. 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Includes on road costs. *Terms and conditions apply Hobart Autohaus xxx xxx xxx xxx Sales Service Finance Parts 09 118i A Silver, Cruise Control 001BMW $39,880 10 118d A Space Grey, Cruise Control B56JX $48,880 09 118d A Blue, Executive, Sunroof B27EY $49,880 07 120i M White, Executive, Black Leather FR9014 $38,880 09 123d A Coupe, Red, Sport Pack DIESEL $65,880 09 320i A White, Executive A30UG $53,880 10 320i A Silver, Executive, Sunroof B28EY $59,880 10 320i A Silver, Sport Innovations B59JS $68,880 10 320i A Black, Sport Innovations B58JX $69,880 08 320d A White, Executive, Innovations A45QP $59,880 10 323i A Blue, Executive, Sunroof B45EY $68,880 09 323i M Coupe, Black, Sport Pack B32ET $79,880 10 325i A Silver, Exclusive, Sunroof B72JX $89,880 09 330d A Space Grey, Sunroof A19WA $89,880 08 530i A Black, Sport Pack, Sunroof A67EB $96,880 09 X3 20d Silver, Lifestyle, Sunroof A28UG $65,880 06 X5 3.0d Sport, Black, Sunroof, Towbar B53SF $69,880 09 X5 30d Silver, Executive, Sunroof A27ZQ $109,880 Year Model Features Rego Drive Away
September 25th 2010
October 9th 2010