2013-11-11 23:19 #1
Auto-braking is a good feature but it is a combination of sensor/software/hardware to perform this task. What happened most of the time, is that it is activated at certain speed. (I don't know much about Mazda but Volvo used to be at 30km/h and later firmware upgraded to 50km/h)
I think most people remembers a youtube film showing a brand new Volvo S60 slamming into an obstacle where the auto-brake should activate and stop the car, it did not.
It is obvious on this Youtube film that the S60 was travelling beyond the 30km/h and therefore the auto-stop function ceased to function! Here is the problem, if you are driving, you know it is difficult to control your car speed at 30 or 35km/h, plus all vehicle speedometer has tolerance. I suspect this Mazda accident is that the driver think he is at the speed where auto-brake should activate but in actual, his speed may be either slightly above (meter fault) or he is not well under the limit for the system to activate.
Therefore, I think Volvo did the right thing. The cut-in limit is now at 50km/h which is more practical. That means, as long as you are under 50km/h, and if there are obstacles ahead and in the given distance, there is no action of braking, the car took over and stop for you. That is why, you can see on Mobile01, many driver reported sudden stoppage when auto-brake took action. That is what it should do. It is not to replace your judgment but rather a precaution measure, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITION, to protect on your behalf.
Again, I don't know if this is the case for Mazda incident but certainly, Mazda has a bad PR issue on hand. It will have to do something to repair the confidence of its feature. New technology are meant to bring good value, sometime, they need to be modified based on actual experience.