Volvo to keep eye on distracted, drunk drivers using in-vehicle cameras

Marco Green
March 21, 2019

Volvo announced on Wednesday that it will integrate in-car driver-monitoring cameras into its new vehicles.

"Many want to be able to share their auto with friends and family, but are unsure about how to make sure they are safe on the road", Samuelsson said in the statement.

Volvo Cars is planning to fit its next generation of autos with cameras and sensors that will detect drunk or distracted drivers and intervene to stop unsafe rides.

Volvo is capping the top speed of all its new cars at 180kph from 2020, and from 2021 you'll be able to set an even lower top speed for your own vehicle if you share it with other people. It pointed to a NHTSA figure that claims almost one third of traffic deaths in cars in 2017 involved drivers under the influence.

In an attempt to combat distracted and intoxicated driving, Volvo says it will use in-vehicle cameras and sensors that monitor the driver to make the decision to "allow the auto to intervene". That last part is where the in-car cameras come in - by monitoring where a driver's eyes are pointed, the system can determine whether the driver is operating the vehicle in a safe manner.

More advanced self-driving systems will presumably have little need for complete shut-down 'intervention.' Just like today's automatic emergency braking systems, full self-driving capabilities could work in the background while under manual control and only kick in if the driver maneuvers toward an imminent collision, swerves out of a lane, or appears non-reactive to a stop sign or red light.

"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 vehicle". For a "final course of action", as Volvo puts it, the auto could even slow down and park itself on the roadside. "In this case, cameras will monitor for behavior that may lead to serious injury or death".

Henrik Green, senior vice president of research and development at Volvo, said that the automaker wants to avoid crashes "altogether rather than limit" the damage.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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