Volvo Cars is limiting the top speed on all its cars to 112 mph (180 kph) from 2020, beginning with model year 2021.
The company’s Vision 2020 aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020. But, Volvo Cars says that because technology alone will not get it all the way to zero, it is now broadening its scope to include a focus on driver behaviour.
Research conducted by Volvo Cars has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute so-called “gaps” in its ambition to end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a prominent one.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive, Volvo Car Group. “Because of our research we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”
The company is also investigating how smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.
“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,” said Mr. Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
Above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design is no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of a collision.
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders and heights. With speeds, not so much,” said Mr Ivarsson. “People often drive too fast in a given traffic situation and have poor speed adaption 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.”
Impairment/intoxication and distraction are the other “gaps towards zero” identified by Volvo Cars.