Volvo is promising death-proof cars in four years, a vehicle with enough state-of-the-art features and technology that will keep normal drivers from being seriously injured in an accident.
The Swedish-based automaker, now owned by Zhejiang Greely Holding Group in China, already can boast that no one has died driving its Volvo XC90 in at least four years, said CNN Money,
and can say the same for eight other vehicle models.
Collision-avoidance technology has taken big leaps over the past decade, reported the Daily Mail
. For example, vehicles equipped with blind-spot detectors watch for oncoming vehicles, adaptive cruise controls reduce speed based on cars ahead, and camera systems warn drivers when they drift out of their lanes.
Volvo has committed to getting 100 autonomous vehicles to the public to test its Drive Me system in 2017. Volvo says the system can respond to "even the most complicated scenarios."
Volvo said its autonomous vehicle tests in Gothenburg, Sweden, will be done in cooperation with local transportation authorities and lawmakers.
"The long term vision is that cars shouldn't crash," said Volvo spokesman Jim Trainor. He said the automaker is trying to create safety features that improve the driving experience "rather than irritate" motorists.
"If it false brakes too often, people get frustrated and they turn the system off," said Trainor. "We need to calibrate the system so it gives the driver every last possible moment to take action."
The company said it can't be held responsible if someone intentionally wants to hurt themselves.
Ryan Whitwam, writing for website Extreme Tech
, said despite the new technology, claiming that vehicles can actually be "death-proof" could be perilous.
"Proving that vehicles can prevent deaths with automated technologies could go a long way toward convincing the public and regulators that self-driving cars are the best option," said Whitwam. "… Still, claiming something to be death-proof seems risky. They said the Titanic was unsinkable, after all."
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