Volvo Will Use In-Car Cameras To Detect Drunk, Distracted Driving

21 March 2019 - motor1

Volvo Will Use In-Car Cameras To Detect Drunk, Distracted Driving

The tech will launch in a few years with Volvo's next-gen vehicles.

Volvo has a long history of safety in its production vehicles, but the automaker is poised to take an additional step beyond passive and reactionary systems to more active measures that address distracted and intoxicated drivers. In a press release issued yesterday, Volvo will utilize in-car cameras in its next-generation models to monitor and evaluate the responsiveness of drivers. In the event a driver is deemed impaired in some manner, the vehicles autonomous safety systems can intervene on various levels and also call the authorities. Sort-of, anyway.

"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 for research and development at Volvo. "In this case, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death."

Specific details on how this system will operate aren't available as of yet. In theory, the cameras will catch drivers who may have their eyes closed or directed away from the road for extended periods of time. Outside of the camera's eye, the vehicle will also to monitor steering input and recognize excessive weaving or wandering, something many current lane-keep assist systems already do.

If the vehicle decides the driver is distracted or impaired, Volvo says a variety of warnings and automonous responses could come into play, including limiting the car's speed and even bringing the car to a stop in a safe manner. The vehicle can also contact Volvo's On Call service, which we suspect would promptly dispatch medical personnel and/or police officers to your location.

We've seen similar proposals from other automakers, but Volvo appears ready to bring this monitoring system to fruition. A discussion on privacy and individual rights is virtually guaranteed to develop as a result of this system, but it's a discussion Volvo wants to have. Combined with the automaker's recent announcement that it would limit the top speed on all its vehicles to 112 MPH, this latest step suggests Volvo is absolutely serious about taking active measures to prevent accidents.

Volvo plans to implement the cameras in its next-generation models utilizing the SPA2 platform, which will launch throughout the early 2020s.

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