Drunk and distracted driving still causes a lot of road accidents many of which often prove to be fatal. Volvo is looking to prevent that. The company said today that it’s going to use cameras installed inside its vehicles to monitor driver behavior and intervene if it seems like the driver is either distracted or drunk. It goes without saying that this move will be a cause for concern for privacy advocates.
The in-car cameras in Volvo vehicles will be monitoring eye movements to measure driver distraction and/or intoxication. Details about the exact number of cameras and their position in the interior will be revealed later.
If the driver looks away for some time to check their smartphone, for example, or fails to keep their hands on the steering wheel, they will receive a call from Volvo’s on-call assistance centers.
Drivers who don’t keep their eyes on the road or have their eyes closed will receive a call to check in as well. If the drivers don’t respond, the car will be slowed down and eventually stopped remotely. Volvo says that this system will be rolled out to all of its vehicles by early 2020.
“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable,” said Henrik Green, SVP for research and development at Volvo. The company hasn’t clarified certain aspects of this system such as whether the video footage from the in-car cameras will be stored and for how long, and whether or not law enforcement will have access to it.