Pay Attention: Your Car Is Watching You

Mon 19th Oct 2020

Technology which has been developed to see how distracted a driver is could be the latest weapon in the ongoing battle to make driving safer thanks to Volvo.

In the week when it was announced that touching your smartphone while driving would lead to a £200 fine, the issue of driver distraction has certainly grabbed the headlines. However, the driving boffins at Volvo have argued that it is not just phones or screens, but life itself which is distracting and that technology could be used to ensure we keep our eyes on the road.

Volvo have announced that they will be installing in-car cameras to monitor behaviour from 2022, when the new XC90 goes on sale and they are keen for the tech to be seen as another safety aid, rather than a ‘Big Brother’ style intrusion.

Speaking at last week’s Volvo Studio Talk, the company’s Head of Car Safety, Malin Ekholm said: “It is easy to think that phones and screens are the only scourge of the modern driver, but life as a whole is distracting. We know people do not get distracted on purpose, but it happens.

“The reality is that people want to engage with friends, family, work and entertainment, and everyone responds differently to distraction,so we want to meet our customers where they are, not where we want them to be. That is why our focus is on using technology in the right way, so we can use it to help you stay safe behind the wheel.”

The Swedish manufacturer acknowledges that some of the dashboard features would simply not work without some form of interaction, that’s why they have introduced advanced voice control which allows drivers to control the temperature or play their favourite music, while keeping their eyes on the road.

“Being able to control key features on your Volvo by voice allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road,” said Ekholm. “Active safety systems such as City Safety, Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation with Steer Assist can act as an extra pair of eyes watching over you.”