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March 20, 2019

Encouraging better behaviour for safer roads

Two weeks ago we surprised people with the announcement of a speed limit on all Volvo cars as of 2020. And we want to continue our discussion about encouraging better driver behaviour, as we showed this week at a special safety event in Gothenburg. All in the spirit of saving more lives. We announced that from 2020, all Volvos will have a speed limit of 180 kph. We knew that decision would be controversial and sure enough, some people questioned it. But we wanted to send a signal about the dangers of speeding and start a conversation about the responsibility of car makers to install technology that changes driver behaviour.

This week, during a special safety event in our hometown of Gothenburg, we continued that conversation. This time, we addressed two other danger areas in traffic: distracted and intoxicated drivers. We announced that as of the early 2020s, new Volvos will be equipped with in-car cameras that watch over the driver. Not in an intrusive way, but to support and help drivers out when they need it.

So how would that work? The cameras will look at things such as your facial expression and your pupil response, to make sure you are as engaged in the driving as you need to be. They won’t respond to every little split-second of distraction, but if you don’t pay attention for a long period of time, there will be a gentle reminder via the driver display or an audio signal. Actual intervention won’t start until the car detects behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.

For example, if the car detects a complete lack of steering input for some time or the camera sees that the driver has slumped down in the seat and is seemingly asleep, that is a clear sign of trouble. In those cases, where warning signals don’t have an effect and danger is imminent, the ultimate step would be intervention. The car would slow down and safely park on the side of the road. We would also involve our Volvo on Call assistance center, available 24/7, to provide further help if needed.

More news: the Care Key

Another exciting piece of news we announced this week, and related to the speed limit, is the launch of the Care Key. It will come as standard on all Volvo models as of next year, and allows Volvo drivers to set a speed limit for themselves, family members or friends. Pretty neat if you want to keep yourself from getting a ticket, or if you want to make sure that your teenage kid who just got their licence don’t get too excited behind the wheel.

Project E.V.A.: sharing is caring

We have always been keen on sharing our safety knowledge with society and this year marks 60 years since we introduced that famous, million-lives-saving piece of innovation, the three-point safety belt. To celebrate that milestone and to highlight our sharing pedigree, we have for the first time launched a digital library of safety knowledge that is easily accessible to everyone. Crucially, the data released as part of Project E.V.A. also highlights a fundamental issue around inequality in terms of car development.

Based on our own research data as well as several other studies, Project E.V.A illustrates that women are more at risk for some injuries in a car crash. Differences in for example anatomy and neck strength between the average man and woman mean that women are more likely to suffer from whiplash injuries. That is why we created virtual crash test dummies to better understand these accidents and develop safety technologies, such as the WHIPS whiplash protection system, that equally protect men and women from whiplash.

Sharing our research

Project E.V.A. initiative


Volvo Cars' Safety Vision