Gothenburg - From next year no new Volvo will be capable of exceeding 180km/h as the Swedish carmaker, renowned for its dedication to safety, is electronically limiting the top speed of all its cars.
What some might see as a form of excessive nannying, Volvo sees as a necessary step on the road to achieving its ultimate goal of eliminating road deaths. Although that alone won’t do the trick, Volvo believes that even if this move saves just one life, it’s still worth doing.
“People simply do not recognise the danger involved in speed,” says Volvo safety export Jan Ivarsson.
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders and heights. With speeds, not so much.
“People often drive too fast in a given traffic situation and have poor speed adaptation in relation to that traffic situation and their own capabilities as a driver. We need to support better behaviour and help people realise and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
And it doesn’t just end with limiting top speeds
Volvo is also looking into “smart speed control” an and geofencing technologies that could, for instance, automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals.
“We want to start a conversation about whether carmakers 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,” says Volvo President Håkan Samuelsson.
“We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
But could this be a slippery slope?
What if you were rushing someone to hospital? Or you’re busy overtaking another car when suddenly you enter a ‘speed restriction’ zone without realising it and have a head-on collision as a result.
However, controlling intoxication and distraction are two areas where Volvo is really onto something and we do hope that some progress is made in that regard.
On that note, Volvo is planning to present ideas to problem areas at a special safety event on March 20. Watch this space.