Volvo’s research and development head Peter Mertens has a vision for his company – he wants no lives to be wasted behind the wheel of Volvo vehicles by 2020, and will accomplish this by implementing a whole host of next generation safety measures designed to safeguard the lives of Volvo drivers.
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Speaking on the subject of self driving cars, Peter outlined his desires clearly. When confronted with a viral image of a woman reading a newspaper behidn the wheel, he expressed his opinion, in no uncertain terms, that this is not the kind of behaviour he wants to promote through safety measures.
“If you look at the picture of having a person sitting behind a steering wheel, and doing emails and reading whatever, that kind of stuff is not what we want to see in a car.”
In fact, he went as far as describing the prediction that self driving cars would be on the road in the next two years, in a single word, as ‘Bulls**t’.
“This is a very, very long term vision. And others are talking that they will have fully autonomous driving in every road condition and under any weather condition in any kind traffic condition in a couple of years. I think that’s bulls**t. We think that that is something which is just not telling the truth.” he said.
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What Peter, and Volvo, want to see is responsible driving being augmented by modern technology. This means that auto driving won’t fully take a precedent over controlling the vehicle, safety for driver and passengers will still be in the hands of the driver, instead the new technology will make driving on the whole much safer.
Using new ‘active’ tech such as sensors which assist in moderating braking as well as object avoidance systems, as well as building ‘passive’ safety measures such as hard points in the car’s construction, Volvo hopes to reach a target where nobody will be “seriously hurt or injured or even killed in a new Volvo,” by 2020, according to Peter.
It’s a bold, and absolutely heroic target for any one car maker to undertake. Volvo’s safety measures we’ve seen so far are some of the most cutting edge around, and in the next six years no doubt things will take an even more advanced leap forward.
Best of luck to Volvo, we’ll keep talking about them as news comes our way.