Starting in the early 2020s, Volvo Cars will install in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor drivers for intoxicated or distracted behavior and allow the car to intervene if the motorist does not respond to warning signals.
The automaker says the cameras will detect unsafe driving behaviors like a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who have their eyes closed or off the road for lengthy periods, and extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.
Once bad driving behavior is detected, the intervention occurs. There are a variety of interventions that the car will be able to implement. These include limiting the car's speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service, and actively slowing down and safely parking the car.
The move to outfit all Volvo vehicles with cameras is the latest strategic step in Volvo Cars' initiatives to support safer driving and its vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities.
The company's three-pronged approach takes aim at speeding, alcohol-impairment and distracted driving—three serious problems on the nation's roadways.
Recently, the automaker announced it will limit the top speed of its vehicles to 112 mph starting with the 2021 model year. It has also introduced the Care Key, which allows future owners of Volvos model year 2021 and going forward to impose limitations on the car's top speed before lending their car to others.
The goal of the new driver monitoring system is to help combat distracted and impaired driving, with the objective of avoiding accidents that could result in severe injuries or fatalities.
Distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives in 2016 alone, and nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2017 involved intoxicated drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.