Published: Sat, March 23, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Volvo's camera monitoring tech aims to eliminate distracted and intoxicated driving

Volvo's camera monitoring tech aims to eliminate distracted and intoxicated driving

Volvo's driver monitoring system looks for certain telltale signs involving distracted and intoxicated driving.

Volvo Cars is looking to finish what it loosely describes as a safety "triangle" by using in-car cameras and other sensors to prevent crashes and fatalies due to drunk or distracted drivers by 2021.

Speaking on the occasion, Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Cars, 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".

Notably, the details suggest an interim technology that uses advanced semi-autonomous capabilities to halt a vehicle that is not itself capable of fully automated driving if the human driver is not deemed to be fully attentive or sober. The question now is how would consumers react considering there is a camera that monitors you even when driving.

According to Volvo, vehicles based on the SPA platform with get the new safety tech first in the early 2020s but a specific date hasn't been given when exactly vehicles like the XC90 will be available with the advanced driver monitoring aids.

Hot on the heels of announcing a worldwide hard speed limiter earlier in the month, Volvo Cars has revealed the next stage of its safety mission.

If a driver has "taken their eyes off the road for enough time to create a risk", is weaving across lanes or has slow reaction times, Volvo's "on call assistance service" will contact them to check they are okay.

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This follows Volvo's recent announcement that it will be limiting the top speed on all of its vehicles to 112 miles per hour in a bid to reduce traffic fatalities.

The idea stems from NHTSA statistics dating back to 2017, which claim that in the U.S. alone, 30% of all traffic fatalities involved intoxicated drivers.

"There are many accidents that occur as a result of intoxicated drivers", said Trent Victor, Professor of Driver Behavior at Volvo Cars.

This could, theoretically, involve a call to the cops for your own safety if you don't wake up and take control of your auto. Insurers, he added, are "tough guys and they will want to see proof, but I'm quite sure there will be fewer accidents".

If that fails, a Care by Volvo representative will call into the vehicle to connect with the driver.

To celebrate its anniversary, Volvo has opened free public access to its knowledge database containing results of vehicle safety studies conducted over the past four decades. Exact technical setup is yet to be determined.

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