New Volvo safety tech won't let you drink and drive

Ann Santiago
March 23, 2019

As reported byeNCA, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer confirmed - on Wednesday - its plans to develop models with in-car cameras and sensors that will assist the drunk or distracted driver. More recently, Volvo announced that they will be limiting the top speed of all future vehicles to only 180 km/h in a bid to reduce or eliminate fatal accidents. Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson hopes that the measures will save lives and make auto insurance less pricey for Volvo buyers. As a method of final resort, and should the driver fail to respond, the auto will be slowed down and safely parked.

While the strategy meant Volvo, owned by China's Geely, might lose some customers keen on high speeds, it also opened opportunities to win parents who wanted to buy the safest auto to carry their children, he said. Volvo envisages it being used with new or younger drivers, such as teenagers who have only just passed their driving test.

Examples of such behaviour include a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for extended periods of time, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.

Nor is it known when small vehicles on the CMA underpinnings will benefit from the new tech or if Volvo's pure-electric premium brand Polestar will also be rolled out with the drink driving cameras. "In this case, cameras will monitor for behavior that may lead to serious injury or death", says Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars.


Volvo has revealed that it is willing to sacrifice speed and torque - a auto owner's dream - for safety and less passenger fatalities. First, for instance, the auto could show alerts to try to encourage greater attention, using the cameras and other sensors to monitor what impact they're having. Exact technical setup is yet to be determined. However, Volvo claims that if the system could also detect if a driver is intoxicated or falling asleep.

Volvo plans to introduce the cameras starting in 2020.

The cameras will be introduced on the new cars based on the next generation scalable SPA2 vehicle platform that will be introduced in early 2020. In an interview with Reuters, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said: "It would be easy to say that people can do whatever they like but we feel we have a responsibility to do this".

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