Volvo plans to fit all its cars with a maximum speed limiter from 2020, to combat road fatalities linked to speeding
Volvo has announced that it will electronically limit the top speed of all its cars to 112mph from 2020, in a bid to reduce the number of accidents where speed is a factor. The speed restrictor forms part of the firm’s safety push towards its stated aim that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the end of the decade.
Volvo says that the 112mph speed limiter was set in an effort to balance safety against buyer attitudes. The firm’s German rivals, such as BWM and Audi, commonly set speed limiters of 155mph and Volvo feared that its customer base would evaporate should its limiter be set at the national speed limit.
In addition to limiting the outright top speed of its new cars, Volvo plans to introduce two further speed limiting technologies on its future models. These include “smart speed control,” which restricts the car’s speed according to the road conditions, and a “geofencing” system, which automatically limits a driver’s speed around hospitals and schools.
According to Volvo, above a certain speed, current driver assistance technology is no longer effective at preventing serious injury or death in the event of an accident. The Swedish firm quotes figures from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration showing that, in 2017, 25 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the USA were caused by excessive speed.
Volvo also plans to tackle the issues of driver intoxication and driver distraction, both of which it recognises as equally serious causes of death and injury on the road. Full details are yet to be announced, but Volvo has confirmed the technology will use a combination of speech and facial recognition to determine whether the driver is fit to drive. More information will be disclosed at the brand’s safety conference in Gothenburg later this month.
Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars, said: “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 behaviour, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction. We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”