As part of their zero-fatalities-by-2020 target.
Swedish carmaker Volvo have announced their next play to achieve their target of no fatalities in their cars by 2020. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that very nearly 30% of all traffic accident fatalities in 2017 involved intoxicated drivers, while there’s plenty of data showing that distracted drivers contribute significantly to road accident statistics.
After the company announced it’d tackle the speeding issue by imposing a 180km/h speed limit on all its cars, it came time to address intoxication and distraction. And they have it seems, with cameras.
“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable. In this case, the cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.” – Henrik Green, Senior Vice President of Research & Development, Volvo Cars
The “behaviour” that Green refers to are things that even law enforcement look for when identifying drivers that aren’t in their best condition. This include things like an extended lack of steering input, drivers who take their eyes off the road for too long, extreme weaving across lanes, and excessively-slow reaction times. The driver monitoring system, which will utilise several cameras trained on the driver, will allow the car to make active decisions to prevent untoward incidents.
This includes limiting the car’s speed, alerting Volvo On Call assistance, and finally actively slowing the car down and safely parking the car. This of course will all come after the driver has been warned via audible and visual signals, and the car determines that the driver poses serious risk to themselves and others on the road.
Volvo “wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right, or maybe even the obligation, to install technology in cars that changes their drivers’ behaviour.” The driver-monitoring systems and the 180km/h speed limit are leading examples of how automakers can actively take responsibility for reducing road fatalities and injuries by improving the behaviour of drivers at the wheel.