Volvo is sending a signal about the dangers of speeding and plans to limit the top speed on all its cars to 180 kph from 2020.
The company’s Vision 2020, which aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020, is one of the most ambitious safety visions in the automotive industry. Research by Volvo Cars has identified three concerns for safety that constitute so-called ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a very prominent one.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. "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.”
Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.
The problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. That is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, yet speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.
Beyond speeding, two other problem areas constitute ‘gaps toward zero’. As obvious a problem as speeding (and as difficult to end) is intoxication. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in large parts of the world, yet it remains a prime reason for injuries and fatalities on today’s roads.
The other area is distraction. Drivers distracted by their mobile phones or otherwise not fully engaged in driving are another major cause of traffic fatailities. In many ways, they are equally dangerous as drunk drivers.
Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 20.
Post-Crash Connected Service
Volvo is also readying its rollout of a connected service aimed at minimizing the stress after an accident. It will be the first automaker to use Accident Advisor, a service created by Chicago-based Certified Collateral Corporation (CCC).
“It’s basically an end-to-end experience to guide you through all those moments right after the accident happens,” said Marc Fredman, Head of Strategy at CCC. “It really guides you through every single step you need to do--which pictures should you take, how do you take notes at the accident, what you should do with your car.” The driver can immediately send the information to the insurance company and file a claim, as well as book an appointment with a certified repair shop.
When a Volvo driver whose vehicle is connected to Accident Advisor is in a crash, a signal is sent to Volvo’s call center. A representative communicates with the driver to determine if emergency services such as an ambulance are necessary. If not, Accident Advisor then walks the driver through the next steps of documenting the damage to the vehicle and communicating with the insurance company and repair shop.
The service will be free to Volvo owners with vehicles no older than the 2015 model year and are equipped with connectivity to the Volvo network.
While Volvo is the first automaker to adopt Accident Advisor, its exclusivity won’t last long.