Car manufacturer Volvo has decided to cap the top speed on all its vehicles produced from model year 2020 at 180 km/h.
This will also be the case for all Volvo cars sold in South Africa, says Volvo Car South Africa (Volvo SA) MD Greg Maruszewski.
He says the idea is to start discussions around the danger of travelling at excessive speeds.
Limiting the top speed on all Volvo cars will also contribute to the Swedish manufacturer’s objective that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.
Already, in the UK, not a single Volvo XC90 occupant has died in a car-to-car accident in the UK since records began in 2004, says Maruszewski.
More than 70 000 XC90s have been sold in the UK to date.
Limiting the top speed on all Volvo cars will be followed, in the next three to four years, by internal camera technology that will be able to detect if the driver is distracted or intoxicated. Should this be the case, the vehicle will sound an audible warning and slow down automatically, or pull over on the side of the road, if it is safe to do so.
“Examples of such behaviour include a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for extended periods of time, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times,” explains Maruszewski.
Another piece of safety technology in the pipeline is a particular form of geofencing that would allow Volvo to limit the speed of its cars around sensitive areas, such as schools.
Another innovation linked to speeding is called the Care Key.
The Care Key will come as standard on all Volvo cars from model year 2021.
The Care Key will allow Volvo drivers to set limits on the car’s top speed, before lending their car to other family members or to younger and inexperienced drivers, such as teenagers, who have only just received their drivers’ licences.
Maruszewski expects there to be some negative feedback on Volvo’s safety initiatives, but believes rational thinking will eventually win the day.
“You would start to think: Do I really need to drive that fast? Do I really need to drive that fast around a school?”
Equal Vehicles for All
Volvo’s Equal Vehicles for All (EVA) initiative is largely focused on the safety of women and children within vehicles, as most automakers still produce cars based exclusively on data from male crash test dummies.
With the EVA Initiative, Volvo has decided to share the results of its more than 40 years of safety research, including those on women, with other vehicle manufacturers.
Volvo’s Accident Research Team has, since the 1970s , compiled real-world data to better understand what happens during a collision. As women and men appear equally in this data, the manufacturer believes they should be equally represented in testing.
Over the years, the team found, and acted upon, the fact that women are at higher risk of whiplash than men, which can be attributed to different anatomy and body strength.
Women are also more likely to suffer a chest injury in a car crash than men due to differences in chest anatomy and strength.
Women also have specific protection needs in side-impacts. The shorter a person is, the lower in the car and closer to the steering wheel they sit, which makes the inflatable curtain that covers the full window a vital safety feature.
An engineer at Volvo invented the three-point safety belt in 1959.
It protects everyone, regardless of your size, gender, or body shape. However, one group is subject to more unique risks than others, says Volvo, and that is pregnant women.
“To learn more about the mother and her unborn baby, we developed the world’s first average-sized pregnant crash test dummy. It is a computer model that makes it possible to study how the occupant moves and how the safety belt and airbag affect the woman and foetus, among other things.”