The world wide press has been positively buzzing with news about self drive cars and despite information to the contrary from manufacturers, a recent story in the Independent highlighted that things may not be quite as far along the production line as they would like you to believe.

‘A video showing a car attempting to park but actually plowing into journalists might have resulted from the Volvo’s owner not paying an extra fee to have the car avoid pedestrians.’

The video, taken in the Dominican Republic, shows a Volvo XC60 reversing itself, waiting, and then driving back into pedestrians at speed. The horrifying pictures went viral and were presumed to have resulted from a malfunction with the car — but the car might not have had the ability to recognise a human at all.

Should This Be An Optional Extra?

The accident may have happened because owners have to pay for a special feature known as “pedestrian detection functionality”, which costs extra. The cars do have auto-braking features as standard, but only for avoiding other cars — if they are to avoid crashing into pedestrians, too, then owners must pay extra.

“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 feature uses a radar and camera to see pedestrians.

Even if the car had been fitted with such functionality, the driver would likely have overridden it because of the way they were driving, Larsson told Fusion.

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