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Volvo to limit car speeds in bid for zero deaths


Paris, March 5, 2019 : Swedish car-maker Volvo said on Monday it will introduce a 180 km per hour (112 mph) speed limiter on all new vehicles as it seeks to enhance its safety credentials and meet a pledge to eliminate passenger fatalities by 2020.

While Volvo, whose XC90 flagship SUV currently has a top speed of 212 km/h, has made progress on its so-called "Vision 2020" target of zero deaths or serious injuries, Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said it is unlikely to meet the goal without additional measures to address driver behaviour.

According to the company, its passenger fatalities were already well below the industry average before the goal was announced in 2007.

In addition to the speed cap, Volvo plans to deploy technology using cameras that monitor the driver's state and attentiveness to prevent people driving while distracted or intoxicated, two other big factors in accidents, Samuelsson said.

The company is also looking at lower geo-fenced speed limits to slow cars around sensitive pedestrian areas such as schools, while seeking to "start a conversation" among automakers and regulators about how technology can be used to improve safety.

Volvo, which is owned by China's Geely, is also looking at ways to use software and geo-fencing technology to limit the speed of its cars when they drive by schools and hospitals.


While Volvo buyers often choose the brand for its safety, Samuelsson accepted that the speed cap could be a turn-off for a few in markets such as Germany, where drivers routinely travel at 200 km/h or more on unrestricted autobahns.

"We cannot please everybody, but we think we will attract new customers," the CEO said, recalling that the roll-out of three-point seat belts pioneered by Volvo in 1959 had initially been criticised by some as intrusive.

"I think Volvo customers in Germany will appreciate that we're doing something about safety," he said. 

 

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