Volvo cars will start monitoring driversOctober 16, 2020
The advent of smartphones and touchscreens inside cars has sparked a growing debate about the dangers of distraction while driving. But Volvo Cars’ safety experts say inattention is a fact of life, and that technology should be used to support people on their daily commute.
The company’s in-house safety and behavioral research shows that, when used properly, modern technologies inside a vehicle can actively reduce distraction, improve road safety and help people focus while driving.
“It’s easy to think that phones and multimedia are the only scourge of the modern driver, but life in general is distracting,” – says Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars’ Safety Center. “We know people aren’t intentionally distracted, but it happens. You may be late for kindergarten and be a little nervous. Or you get behind the wheel after a bad day at work. All of this affects you as a driver. “
Malin Ekholm made these and other comments during a special safety webcast hosted by Volvo this week. Some would argue that a 1940s car is safer in terms of distraction than modern cars — after all, it lacks a screen, phone line, or even a radio. But today’s reality looks different.
“The reality is that people want to connect with friends, family, work and play, and everyone responds differently to distraction,” – says Malin Ekholm.
Volvo Cars is actively using technology to tackle the dangers of inattention and create some of the safest vehicles on the road. For example, its active safety systems, such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping, are designed to help drivers if they lose concentration or are distracted for a split second. In the cabin of the new XC40 Recharge, enhanced voice control of Volvo Cars’ new Android-based infotainment system allows drivers to control temperatures, set a destination, play their favorite music and podcasts or make calls – all without taking their hands off the wheel.
Volvo Cars believes that loss of vigilance should also be addressed through car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver. With such technologies, if an apparently distracted (or drunk) driver does not respond to warning signals and risks being involved in a serious, potentially fatal accident, vehicle systems can intervene. This intervention may include limiting the vehicle speed, alerting the Roadside Assistance Service and, in extreme cases, actively decelerating and parking the vehicle safely. Volvo Cars plans to start rolling out these cameras on the next generation of the scalable Volvo SPA2 automotive platform.
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