Distant are the days when vehicle safety was a new concept. It did not take vehicle manufacturers nor legislators long to determine that a great deal of the injuries suffered in car accidents were preventable. Seatbelts have been a requirement for quite some time now. And do you remember when there were no drinking-and-driving laws? Probably not, as those laws were established in 1921.
In recent years, Canada has begun taking a stronger stance against intoxicated driving. For instance, according to MADD, what was once a .08%BAC has been lowered to a .05%BAC in most provinces. Despite this, MADD reports that up to four Canadians each day are killed in motor-vehicle accidents due to intoxication.
Volvo Has An Idea
It is no doubt such a high statistic that has brought Volvo to announce its most recent vision for the company: a future with zero traffic fatalities. How does it plan to do this, you ask? By installing cameras and various other sensors in their vehicles that detect distracted or intoxicated drivers.
How Will It Work?
Volvo will install sensors at eye level in the vehicles that they roll out beginning in 2021. These sensors can scan the driver’s face, and detect if their eyes remain closed for an extended period of time. Additionally, they can tell if a driver is looking away from the road for too long.
Other features include detecting if the driver has removed both hands from the steering wheel or if the vehicle is swerving or driving erratically. If any of this occurs, the vehicle will automatically slow down and contact the Volvo Assistance Line. If the driver does not respond, the vehicle will safely park itself as soon as possible.
Another Step Further
Along with this announcement, Volvo announced the future release of another piece of new technology: the Care Key. Also set to be released in 2021, this key will allow the owner of a vehicle to set a temporary speed limit on their vehicle. Presumably, this is for times when an owner is lending their car to another person.
The goal here is to reduce the opportunity for speeding, thereby reducing the risk of serious injury or accident while the vehicle is under the operation of another. Parents of teenagers, rejoice! Soon, your lovable need-for-speed teen will be capped at a speed you feel comfortable with.
Volvo Is Not Entirely Alone
Volvo appears to be the first to specifically target intoxicated and distracted driving by installing cameras that look inside the car. However, they are certainly not the only car company to target distracted driving through automation. Nissan has sensors in their steering wheels, which will disable the Propilot system if the driver removes their hands for too long.
Propilot is slightly different than the proposed Volvo technology, however. The goal of Nissan’s technology is to keep the driver attentive while using Propilot – an automated driving feature. The goal of Volvo is to ensure attentiveness during regular driving and not automated driving.
Road Rules by Dominique McCrimmon and Cedric Hughes