Safety first: Volvo plans to limit top speed on all its cars by 2020
For a while now, Volvo has been developing technologies that will help towards its aim that no one will die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020. But the Swedish auto maker says that technology can only go so far, and is now broadening the scope of its safety initiative, by imposing a speed limit on all its vehicles – albeit a 112 mph top speed.
Technology so far developed by Volvo to meet its ambitious safety aims includes self-driving support systems, connected cars, an all-around view system and even a reflective spray for pedestrians and cyclists.
"Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be," said Volvo's Håkan Samuelsson. "Because of our research we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it's worth doing if we can even save one life."
The company says that in-car safety systems and smart infrastructure design can only go so far, and that despite speed restrictions being in place in most western countries, one of the most common reasons for traffic fatalities is speeding – pointing to National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration stats which show that 25 percent of traffic deaths in the US during 2017 were caused by speeding.
From next year, new Volvos won't be able to exceed 180 km/h (112 mph). The company is also looking into using smart speed control and geofencing technology to automatically slow down cars around schools and hospitals.
"We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver's behavior, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction," continued Samuelsson. "We don't have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer."
Volvo will announce its ideas for tackling the problems of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and for nixing driver distractions, at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 20.