Your next Volvo won't let you drive drunk or distracted

Volvo in-car monitoring
Image credit: Volvo

Volvo is introducing a new in-car system that will watch you for signs of intoxication or distraction, and take action if it can't get your attention back on the road ahead.

Cameras and sensors in the car will monitor for signs that something's amiss, such as slumping in your seat, looking away for a long time or keeping your eyes closed, or not giving any steering input.

If you aren't driving responsibly, the car could start by slowing down and trying to alert your attention. If that doesn't help, it could then put you through to Volvo on-call assistance, who will speak to you and find out what's going on. As a last resort, the car could find a safe place and park itself automatically.

Stay sharp

That might sound pretty drastic, but Volvo is keen to point out that the system is only for cases where there's clearly a major problem; the car won't pull over or phone home if you glance away briefly or adjust your posture.

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

Volvo plans to begin introducing the cameras in the early 2020s, and is capping the maximum speed of new cars at 180kph to further encourage safer driving.

"We want to attract responsible drivers and make the Volvo community a safer community," says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars.