Wednesday, May 23, 2007


No, this is not about the War on Terra. I just saw an ad on television for the Volvo S80 (actually, a series of ads -- why do they always seem to show three or four different ads for the same thing one right after the other?) that left me rolling my eyes so hard I think I hurt something.

The ad(s) are for the Volvo S80 Sedan, which has as its tagline "A luxury car that protects the luxury of life". Cue up a dark parking lot and a lone woman walking to her car. A hundred yards away, as a voice intones seriously that she is a "woman alone" she glances down at her key fob...which is blinking rhythmically. "And the S80, with the innovative heart-beat sensor, tells her that there is an intruder in her car." Relieved, she turns back to the light.....

Um, is this actually such a humungous problem that we need to have a heartbeat sensor in the car? I can't say I've ever really given much time over to panicking about whether someone has broken into my car and is lurking inthe back seat. I'm sure it happens -- but designing a sensor to try to detect it? I can see that being useful. I can't find any statistics regarding assaults by intruders lurking in parked cars, but really, you're going to check your keyfob every time you approach you car for a tell-tale blinking, or are you going to look into your car when you get there?

Or the 'accident predictor' feature that lets loose with a shrieking wail if you approach an object too quickly. The ad shows the driver smoothly and effortlessly swerving to avoid the slow-moving truck as the car whoops racously to warn him what he is about to have an accident. Of course, for most drivers, instead of warning them of the imminent threat, the klaxon just tells them "You've had an accident!" . Yeah, right. Oh, I thought -- look! It screams along with you as you have a crash!

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