Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Really Useful Technology -- SUV deaths by rollover are up by 14% to 10,666, according to the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration. And, more than 60% of deaths in SUVs involve rollovers.

Makes the Volvo XC90's Roll Stability Control pretty significant. RSC notices when the XC90 is beginning to roll (sensors detect excessive yaw) and applies brakes as needed to make the thing understeer its way out of trouble (or at least a rollover). Even assuming that RSC won't prevent all rollovers and that preventing a rollover won't always prevent a fatal accident, you gotta figure that this is technology that should markedly decrease the number of deaths by SUV.

Note to Bill Ford: Give it away! (Ford owns Volvo). As a big centenary celebration gesture, give every carmaker a free or nearly free license to the RSC technology. Better yet, give them an open-source license so they have to share any improvements they make.

Note to Csabe Csere: How could technology that makes SUV parking (QuadraSteer) and loading (Mid-Gate) easier make your list of significant innovations, but RSC doesn't?