Volvo continues to make progress in its quest to end all fatalities onboard its cars. Aside from addressing top speed issues, the Swedish automaker will also deploy in-car cameras to monitor for intoxicated or otherwise distracted drivers.
According to the NHTSA, almost 30% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 involved intoxicated drivers, which is why Volvo believes that actively monitoring them is the best way to prevent a tragedy.
So in case there’s an intoxicated or distracted driver behind the wheel and they aren’t responding to warning signals, the car could then intervene by limiting the speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service and, as a final course of action, actively slowing down and parking the car safely.
“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable,” said Volvo R&D exec, Henrik Green. “In this case, cameras will monitor for behavior that may lead to serious injury or death.”
Examples of this type of behavior include a lack of steering input for extended periods of time, closed or otherwise preoccupied eyes, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.
These in-car cameras will be rolled out alongside Volvo’s next-generation SPA2 vehicle platform in the early 2020s, while details on the exact number of cameras and their positioning within the cabin will follow in due course.
Meet the Care Key
This is yet another safety-related innovation, meant to allow Volvo drivers to set limitations on the car’s top speed, before lending it to other family members or to younger and inexperienced drivers.
Aside from all of the potential safety benefits, the Care Key (standard from 2021) is also likely to offer Volvo drivers a financial benefit. The automaker is looking into whether or not insurance companies could offer special, favorable insurance to the Volvo community using these safety features.
“Many want to be able to share their car with friends and family, but are unsure about how to make sure they are safe on the road. The Care Key provides one good solution and extra peace of mind,” stated Volvo president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson.
Innovations such as in-car cameras or the Care Key will join other new Volvo systems such as the 112 mph (180 km/h) speed limiter, which will become standard on all Volvo cars starting with the year 2020.