Volvo is my copilot

Volvo is my copilot

Volvo showed off its CoDriver system as a separate technology exhibit at the Tokyo Motor Show. This system adds to voice-route guidance by also having the car warn the driver of impending safety issues. For example, if your windshield wiper fluid runs low, its navigation system finds the nearest gas station and guides you to it. Those of us who drive for years without wiper fluid will probably find this a little annoying. Its sensors assist in parking and watch for red lights and other traffic signals, and it monitors the driver for signs of fatigue. I can imagine it yelling, "Wake up, idiot!" if my eyes start to droop, but it's more likely to soothingly suggest stopping and offering guidance to the nearest hotel. The system's cameras monitor blind spots so that it can offer warnings of hidden vehicles.

Most interesting are its lane-assistance features. At speeds greater than 40mph, it monitors lane lines and gently moves the wheel if you start to drift. If you are making a lane change, it's easy to overcome the wheel force and get over. On the surface, it sounds like one of those awful ideas that take control away from the driver, but I've been next to enough cars drifting into my lane to know that some people can benefit from this system. Taking the system a step further, if it senses lane drift and an oncoming obstacle, it will forcefully move the wheel away from the collision path.

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About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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