Alongside its aim to introduce fully autonomous cars by the early 2020s, Volvo has unveiled plans to install new technology in its cars to reduce the number of deaths on the road.
New measures, including cameras and other sensors, will monitor drivers for signs of distraction and intoxication, and technology in the car will intervene to help prevent accidents.
Driver-facing cameras will check if the driver’s eyes are closed or look away from the road for long periods, and if this happens, the car will automatically limit its speed or park.
Further sensors monitor steering and reaction time. If a driver doesn’t steer the car for a while, swerves back and forth across the road, or doesn’t react quickly enough to what’s going on around them, the car will warn them. If the driver then doesn’t react to the warnings, Volvo’s on call support service will speak to the driver.
Henrik Green, Volvo’s Senior Vice President for research and development, said: “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, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.”
Volvo also previously announced it would be introducing a speed limit of 112mph on all cars from 2020, and would introduce a feature that allows car owners to set the top speed possible for someone borrowing their car.
Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s CEO, said: “It would be easy to say that people can do whatever they like but we feel we have a responsibility to do this. Maybe people will see us as ‘Big Brother’, but if we save some lives then it’s worth it.”
Volvo is well known for its focus on road safety, having developed the three-point seatbelt in 1959 and opened up the patent for other manufacturers to use in their cars.