Economy

Volvo to introduce in-car monitoring system targeting drunk and distracted drivers

Volvo to introduce in-car monitoring system targeting drunk and distracted drivers

These cameras will watch how you act and respond to situations, to determine if you're driving under the influence or not paying proper attention.

Volvo said intervention if the driver is found to be drunk, exhausted or distracted by checking a mobile phone - among the biggest factors in accidents - could involve limiting the car's speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service, or slowing down and parking the auto. While Volvo has, like other auto companies, been adopting increasing active safety technology to cut down crashes and fatalities, "technology alone will not get it all the way to zero", the automaker said.

The launch of the Care Key follows the announcement earlier this month that Volvo Cars will limit the top speed on all its cars to 180 km/h from 2020, in order to send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding.

Henrik Green, senior vice president of research and development at Volvo, said that the automaker wants to avoid crashes "altogether rather than limit" the damage.

"In this case, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death", he added.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 people in the USA die each day because of drunken driving crashes.

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This is in line with Volvo's efforts to promote safe driving. However, Volvo claims that if the system could also detect if a driver is intoxicated or falling asleep. As a method of final resort, and should the driver fail to respond, the vehicle will be slowed down and safely parked.

"There are many accidents that occur as a result of intoxicated drivers".

"Some people still believe that they can drive after having had a drink, and that this will not affect their capabilities". Signs the system will watch for include lack of steering input, weaving, and even the direction of the driver's eyes.

Speaking at a press briefing in Gothenburg, Sweden, Hakan Samuelsson, the chief executive officer of Volvo, noted that these plans were in line with the brand's vision of using advanced technologies to assist drivers. "At 55 miles per hour, that is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded". There were 10,874 deaths in the US from drunken driving crashes in 2017, the NHTSA adds.

For one specific example of how the company has already addressed this, she cites Volvo's WHIPS anti-whiplash seat design introduced in 1998. At this time, Volvo is not releasing details on the number of cameras or their locations at this time. In the meantime, experts say driving defensively is the best way to stay safe on the road.


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