New safety tech from Volvo allows car to intervene when driver is drunk, distracted

Ian Bush
March 20, 2019 - 7:14 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Volvo is taking a bold — and some might say "big brothery" — step toward its goal that no one is killed or seriously injured in its new cars. 

With cameras and sensors in the car, Volvo's driver monitoring system will watch for signs of distraction and intoxication, like taking eyes off the road or steering erratically.

"The car would then engage the safety support systems, and issue a reminder to drive with care," said the automaker in a video. 

READ: New way to receive Amazon packages: In your Volvo trunk 

In the video, an animation shows the SUV slowing, its speed limited, because the driver hasn't responded to the alert. 

A representative from Volvo's on-call assistance center chimes in, asking if all is OK.

"If the driver doesn't respond or if behavior doesn't improve, an emergency stop is activated, at which time the car safely pulls over to a stop. Volvo on-call stays on the line and sends further help if needed," Volvo said in the video. 

Volvo has anticipated the "big brother" objections and notes the system won't record video. The company says it "wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that changes their drivers' behavior."