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Volvo to install cabin-facing cameras to catch you drink-driving from 2020

Volvo's safety crusade continues
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

21 Mar 2019 • 2 min read

Say what you will about Volvo, but the Swedish brand is clearly happy to risk alienating customers in the interest of road safety.

Fresh from announcing its future vehicles will be fitted with speed limiters that force your car to top out at 180km/h (whether the owner wants one or not) from 2021, the brand has today announced plans to install driver-facing cameras designed to catch people driving under the influence, or erratically, from 2020.

The brand says intoxication and distraction form part of a three-prong (along with speeding) attack on unsafe driving, part of Volvo's vision for a future free of road deaths. And according to Volvo, the answer is a combination of in-car cameras and sensors that will constantly monitor a driver, and demand the car step in if it senses you're either driving distracted or under the influence.

In the case of distraction, Volvo's plan involves first sounding an alert to capture your attention before either limiting the vehicle's speed or autonomously pulling over to the side of the road, as well as dialling into Volvo's On Call assistance centre.

In the case of driving under the influence, however, an alert is unlikely to help, so you can expect Volvo to step in and stop your vehicle.

“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 Volvo's senior vice-president of research and development, Henrik Green. "In this case, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.”

The cameras and sensors will be programmed to detect a lack of steering input, or if you have your eyes closed. They will also be on the lookout for weaving in your lane and "excessively" slow reaction times.

“There are many accidents that occur as a result of intoxicated drivers,” says Volvo's professor of driver behaviour, Trent Victor.

“Some people still believe that they can drive after having had a drink, and that this will not affect their capabilities. We want to ensure that people are not put in danger as a result of intoxication.”

Will Volvo's driver cameras cost them customers? Or is it an important step towards safer roads? Tell us in the comments below.