Over the last couple of decades there has been a huge improvement in the number of accidents and deaths caused by drink driving. A combination of public awareness campaigns changing the culture of drivers and those around them who may be able to intervene putting more off taking a risk with their own and others’ lives, and much stricter laws, have undeniably had a positive impact. But drink driving is still a problem. Too many drivers are still tempted to take the wheel after a couple.
But the latest technology in the world looks like it will take things one step further and before we’re all being comfortable chauffeured around by driverless cars powered by artificial intelligence and arrays of sensors. Swedish car manufacturer Volvo, which has carefully built up a reputation as offering the safest cars on the market, is introducing a new system that will detect if a driver may be under the influence. Cameras will monitor for tell-tale signs in behaviour and how the driver looks compared to their normal state. Pupil dilation is a key indicator the technology will assess.
If the vehicle comes to the conclusion the driver may be intoxicated, it will automatically place a call to a Volvo advisor who will then speak to the driver. If the advisor supports the conclusion of the technology, they will be able to remotely instruct the car to slow down and pull over.
Volvo, which has set itself a target of ensuring no-one is ever killed or seriously injured in one of its vehicles plans to introduce the new technology into models to be released from the early part of the 2020s. Volvos will also have restrictions placed on their potential top speed, which will be capped at 112 mph. New models will also make sure drivers do not look at their telephones while driving.
Volvo accepts that the company’s new approach might put off some drivers and lead to the accusation that it is adopting a ‘big brother’ approach but unashamedly embraces its safety conscious philosophy.
Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson commented:
“Maybe people will see us as big brother, but if we save some lives then it is worth it. We feel we have a responsibility to do this.”