Car giant Volvo is developing what they have called ‘no death’ cars that will drive themselves and will be impossible to crash. They promise the vehicles will be in showrooms throughout the world by 2020.
The computerised vehicles will be fitted with high-tech sensors which will mean the vehicle will refuse to be steered into other objects. Volvo say despite the finished article being 8 years away, some of the life-saving technology will be incorporated into its vehicles from the start of 2014 and their long term vision is that nobody will be killed or injured in a new Volvo vehicle after 2020. The first versions of the crash-free vehicle will be built for driving in towns at a maximum speed of 31mph. While the 2020 vehicle will be able to be driven at much faster speeds and in much more crowded traffic areas.
Volvo has joined the race by leading manufacturers to build fully autonomous cars that can drive themselves. The biggest hurdle is not the technology itself but public acceptance of it and issues of who would be liable if a crash-proof car did actually crash, would it be the driver or the manufacturer? It is a question that car insurance firms would also like to know the answer to because they will not want to pay out if the impossible happens. Experts believe autonomous cars should bring down premiums because it will remove the human error element from driving. Volvo has had 50 engineers working with automotive partners on the new crash-proof car technology over the last several years and they are convinced this is the future and they want to get there first.
Volvo’s safety expert, Anders Eugensson, said “We have tested prototypes on thousands of miles of test drives on public roads in Spain and on the company’s test track in western Sweden. The car of the future will be like the farmer’s horse. The farmer can steer the horse and carriage but if he falls asleep the horse will refuse to walk into a tree or off a cliff.”