Volvo XC60

Volvo to control car speeds in bid for zero fatalities

Volvo Cars stated on Monday it will release a 180 km per hour (112 mph) speed limiter on all recent vehicles as the Swedish automaker looks to smooth its safety credentials and meet a promise to remove passenger fatalities by 2020.

While Volvo, whose XC90 flagship SUV presently has a top speed of 212 km/h, has made a name on its so-called “Vision 2020” target of zero deaths or severe injuries, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said it is not likely to meet the goal without extra measures to address driver behaviour.

“We’ve realised that to close the gap we have to focus more on the human factors,” Samuelsson informed Reuters. Volvo did not discuss on the data but said its passenger fatalities were already well below the industry average before the goal was discussed in 2007.

Along with the speed cap, Volvo prepares to deploy technology using cameras that monitor the driver’s state and carefulness to prevent people driving while distracted or intoxicated, two other big factors in accidents, Samuelsson stated.

The company is also exploring at lower geo-fenced speed limits to slow vehicles around sensitive pedestrian areas including schools, while seeking to “start a conversation” among car manufacturers and regulators that how technology can be used to enhance safety.

Volvo announced the new speed limitation plan on the eve of the Geneva auto show, where its new Polestar performance electric-car brand is introducing its second model, the Polestar 2.

While Volvo customers often choose the brand for its safety, Samuelsson conceded that the velocity cap could be a turn-off for a few in industries such as Germany, where drivers routinely travel at 200 km/h or higher on unrestricted autobahns.

“We cannot please everybody, but we think we will attract new customers,” the CEO stated, recalling that the roll-out of three-point seat belts pioneered by Volvo in 1959 had initially been criticized by some as intrusive.”I think Volvo clients in Germany will appreciate that we’re doing something about safety,” he added.

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