Volvo Cars recently revealed a new step in its ambition to end fatalities in car accidents by addressing the issues of intoxication and distraction.

Apart from speeding, which the company aims to help combat with a top speed limit, intoxication and distraction are two other primary areas of concern for traffic safety. Together, these three areas constitute the main ‘gaps’ towards Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and which require focus on human behaviour in the company’s safety work as well.

Faisal Sharif, Managing Director of DOMASCO, the exclusive distributor of Volvo Cars in Qatar, said that Volvo is a world leader in safety technologies.

They are constantly developing new technologies and sharing it with other car manufacturers to make roads safer for everyone. The in-car cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death thus achieve the aim of avoiding accidents altogether.’

Driver Monitoring Camera in a Volvo research vehicle
Driver monitoring camera inside a Volvo research vehicle

Volvo Cars believe that intoxication and distraction should be addressed with the installation of in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death.

That intervention could involve limiting the car’s speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service and, as a final course of action, actively slowing down and safely parking the car.

Examples of such behaviour include a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for extended periods of time, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.

A driver monitoring system as described above is an important element in allowing the car to actively make decisions in order to help avoid accidents that could result in severe injuries or death.

The introduction of cameras on all Volvo models will start on the next generation of Volvo’s scalable SPA2 vehicle platform in early 2020. Details on the exact number of cameras and their positioning in the interior will follow at a later stage.

The company will also be limiting the top speed on all its cars to 180 kph, beginning from model year 2021, in order to send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding.

Volvo wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to instal technology in cars that changes their drivers’ behaviour. Both the speed limit and the installation of in-car cameras illustrate how car makers can take active responsibility in the aim to achieve zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behaviour.

Volvo Cars also revealed the Care Key recently, which will allow Volvo drivers to impose limitations on the car’s top speed (on all cars from model year 2021) before lending their car to others.

These features – the Care Key, the monitoring cameras, the speed limit as well as the existing driver assistance systems – all serve one single aim: to ensure safety in driving.

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