Volvo Cars today also revealed the Care Key, which allows Volvo drivers to impose limitations on the car's top speed on all cars from model year 2021, before lending their vehicle to others. "Our recently announced speed limit fits that thinking and the Care Key is another example", said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO at Volvo Car Group.
If the driver doesn't wake up or respond to warning signals, in the future Volvo could rely on autonomous driving aids to take control of the vehicle and drive the auto to safety.
As for how the system will know when you're too drunk to be driving?
In its quest to completely eliminate driver deaths, Volvo is taking more drastic steps to reduce accidents. As well as checking for intoxication, the system could also identify a driver distracted by their smartphone and looking away from the road.
A crash test of a Volvo XC 90 vehicle is presented at the Volvo Cars Safety Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, March 20, 2019.
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If the driver doesn't respond, has their eyes closed or does not have their hands on the steering wheel, the vehicle will then enter an "emergency state" and reduce its speed.
Volvo has always been considered the leader in automotive safety among automakers, putting its vehicles through rigorous tests to ensure that occupant welfare is more than just a marketing-driven five-star rating.
"We have data on tens of thousands of real-life accidents, to help ensure our cars are as safe as they can be for what happens in real traffic", says Lotta Jakobsson, professor and senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Centre. Volvo did not mention whether the system can be disabled or not. In 1966, the company began studiously examining crashes involving Volvo cars to see whether seatbelts made a difference (spoiler alert: they reduced injuries by 50 percent). Who has access to what the camera sees, and will passengers also be in view?
If the vehicle decides or detects what it thinks is distracted driving, it can limit the car's speed, alert the Volvo on Call assistance service, and go so far as slowing down and parking the auto. Most new cars today have no such cap, although those capable of reaching higher speeds are electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).
The company believes intoxication and distraction should be addressed by installing in-car cameras alongside other sensors that monitor the driver. Volvo says it expects to announce "the first of several agreements with national insurance firms soon".