Volvo continues to bulldoze its way to safety, on Wednesday saying it will now give a complimentary Care Key with each new Volvo from model year 2021 and after. The special key will limit the speed of the vehicle when used. This is on top of Volvo setting an overall speed limit for all of its cars to 112 mph, all to deliver on its promise of no deaths or serious injuries in its cars by 2020. But wait, there’s more. The company will also deploy in-car cameras and “intervention against intoxication and distraction.”
On the Care Key, Volvo says it “wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that changes their owners’ behavior. Now that such technology is available to use, this question becomes even more important.”
The Care Key can be used with your teenagers, of course, but also with less-than-scrupulous cousins and other possible ride sharers. Volvo also says it is currently inviting insurance companies in several markets to give drivers a break if they use this technology. Some insurance companies are already doing this, but by using your car’s OBD-II port and a wireless-enabled tattletale box.
As for limiting distraction and intoxication, the company will use in-car cameras and other sensors to determine if the driver is drunk or not paying attention. If guilty of either, let alone both, the Volvo could limit the car’s speed even further or alert Volvo on Call, and it’s even capable of “as a final course of action, actively slowing down and safely parking the car.”
Volvo would do this if the driver didn’t add any steering input for an extended period of time or had his or her eyes closed or off the road, or if it detected “extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.”
Introduction will start with the SPA2 vehicle platform in the early 2020s. Details on the number of cameras and their positioning will be announced later.
In-car cameras aren’t unprecedented. Cadillac has them right now with its Super Cruise semi-autonomous feature. And that system is sensitive. Even if you try to fool it by keeping your head up, it still can tell that your eyes are off the road.
When Volvo announced its plan to limit cars’ speeds to 112 mph earlier this month, the comments were split about 50/50 on whether it was a good idea or overreach. I’m guessing it’ll be about the same for this new bit of news.
Writer: Jake Lingeman
Published: March 20, 2019