Always at the forefront of driver safety, Volvo is planning to take a more proactive approach to driver safety. The company plans to equip future models with inside cameras that will identify signs of driver impairment.
The safety feature will kick in if the cameras detect a lack of input in the steering column for an extended period, a driver whose eyes are closed or off the road for a prolonged period of time, or a driver who weaves across lanes excessively.
Volvo released a statement on Wednesday indicating they would like to go beyond minimizing impact in the event of an accident. They wish to take measures which will prevent an accident from occurring in the first place.
Volvo Cars believes intoxication and distraction should be addressed by installing in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death.
That intervention could involve limiting the car’s speed, alerting the Volvo On Call assistance service and, as a final course of action, actively slowing down and safely parking the car.
“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable,” says Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars. “In this case, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.”
Volvo wishes to “start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that changes their drivers’ behaviour. Both the speed limit and the installation of in-car cameras illustrate how car makers can take active responsibility for the aim of achieving zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behavior.”
Zerohedge’s Tyler Durden says that “interior facing cameras are currently only available on a couple of vehicles, including Teslas and select vehicles by Mazda and Subaru, among a few others. The data from cameras is generally run through image recognition software to try and determine whether or not a driver is paying attention, looking at their cell phone, or perhaps even getting sleepy.”
Volvo plans to implement the cameras in its next-generation models utilizing the SPA2 platform, which will launch throughout the early 2020s.