Drunk driving kills. Anyone who has been in a car accident, especially one that was caused by a drunk or distracted driver, will tell you that they wished there were more safety measures available to protect them. Car manufacturers today have been steadily designing more and more safety and driver protection features, whether it is anti-lock brakes, vehicle detection sensors or even auto-steering. Self-driving cars are now touted as the ultimate driver safety feature. One manufacturer, however, is developing technology geared specifically to protect other drivers from drunk or distracted driver. If the new auto technology that is being developed by Volvo is successful, the chances of you being injured by a drunken motorist could drop significantly.
The Swedish automaker recently announced that it has been working on technology that will allow a car to gauge whether the driver is impaired or driving while under the influence of alcohol. If the technology determines that the driver is indeed impaired and could be at risk of causing an accident, the car will actually report the driver to the police.
Volvo’s autonomous technology has already blazed trails with its forward collision warning systems and other technologies that take over control of the automobile when a motorist is at risk of crashing with objects or pedestrians in the car’s path. Now, the Swedish automaker is designing technology that will go one step further in cracking down on drunk, or even distracted, driving.
According to Volvo, the new technology will analyse the motorist’s driving patterns to determine if the driver is either distracted or drunk. It’s not clear how the technology will operate, but it is assumed that the system will include a combination of cameras and other technologies to determine if the driver has his eyes closed for too long or looks away from the road too often. The systems could also analyze steering use and determine if the car is veering from its lane too often. Although these are actions that the current breed of auto safety technology is already capable of, the Volvo systems would take things one step farther and alert the police of a drunk driver.
The Swedish automaker has plans to implement the new technology on its automobiles as early as the 2020s. The company says that this new technology is yet another move toward making cars safer to drive by eliminating bad or faulty human behaviour, rather than merely minimizing the impact of an accident when it does occur.
It’s too hard and too early to predict yet if this kind of “big brother” tech will even appeal to buyers. While the logic behind the technology is solid, whether or not buyers will be attracted to this technology or find it obtrusive remains to be seen.
There is no doubt, however, that auto safety technologies are helping keep our roads safer for all. Volvo is just one among several automakers that have been investing in making their cars safer to drive. These systems work by mitigating the role of human error which is the biggest factor in car accidents worldwide.