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Volvo's new self-parking car rams into pedestrians unless you pay an extra fee

Self-driving cars

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(NaturalNews) A revealing new video from the Dominican Republic shows exactly the kind of danger drivers and pedestrians will be in once self-driving cars start roaming the streets. At first glance, the Volvo XC60 seems to be an "intelligent" machine, capable of backing up with precision and eloquence. In the video, the vehicle successfully went into reverse and then parked. However, once the Volvo started moving forward again, something went terribly awry. As a group of fascinated journalists watched the Volvo come forward, everything they trusted about the car turned on them. In one quick motion, the Volvo bolted forward, plowing into the journalists.

The Volvo was attempting to park itself, but it seems its sensors failed to recognize the journalists standing by. If this same kind of accident would have happened on the streets, the Volvo could have plowed over innocent pedestrians crossing an intersection. If this kind of malfunction happened in a residential driveway, then the car may have not recognized a group of kids playing in the driveway. They would be plowed over, startling the driver awake.

Volvo's owner didn't pay extra to upgrade to "pedestrian detection"

The most bizarre part about the failed self-parking attempt is that the owner of the Volvo didn't pay the extra fee that prevents the car from running into pedestrians! Should this even be an option? If a self-driving car is allowed to disregard pedestrians, will anyone ever be able to trust this technology? The cars have standard auto-braking features that help the Volvo avoid other vehicles on the road, but owners are forced to pay extra for an upgrade that lets the car brake for pedestrians.

"It appears as if the car in this video is not equipped with Pedestrian detection," Volvo spokesperson Johan Larsson told Fusion. "This is sold as a separate package."

The special feature that senses pedestrians and tells the car to stop for them is called "pedestrian detection functionality." For the Volvo XC60, this feature costs extra. The feature recognizes pedestrians using a radar and a camera.

The whole idea that owners can go without auto-braking for pedestrians shows just how risky these cars are going to be. Drivers who are not paying attention to the road and who blindly trust the "intelligence" of their self-driving car are going to be less alert if a pedestrian does cross their path. Will the driver be able to manually brake in time? Will they even care since they have become so detached from the driving experience anyway?

Video shows a self-driving Volvo plowing over journalists

As seen in the video, parking the Volvo may be the most dangerous maneuver, since drivers take parking for granted. Larsson explained the specifics, "The pedestrian detection would likely have been inactivated due to the driver inactivating it by intentionally and actively accelerating. Hence, the auto braking function is overrided by the driver and deactivated."

According to reports, the men who were struck by the confused Volvo "were bruised but are ok." If there's one lesson to be learned -- it's to not trust technology, especially technology that has been given free will in the form of an autonomous vehicle.

Who knew that the first machines to start running over people and taking out humanity would be self-driving vehicles? The journalists who were struck hard might live to tell the story, but their bruises should be a painful warning to anyone who blindly trusts whatever they are told about these wonderful, autonomous vehicles.

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