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Are we in the golden age of vehicles? Within a few decades, automation will have taken over on the roads and many will travel in self-driving vehicles. Another change not often discussed is the future for vehicles regarding speed. Speeds are expected to be restricted by today’s standards as companies introduce vehicles that will have their top speeds limited. Volvo has announced their vehicles will not travel faster than 114 mph starting with their 2020 vehicles and going forward. This makes sense for a number of reasons; mainly due to enhancing safety and security on the roads. As it is, most states have speed limits way below 100 mph, but even places that don’t are considering changes to their approach. Let’s take a look at the future of vehicles and the questions automakers are asking today.
The Future of Vehicles
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tracked data showing speed as the culprit in as high as 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Across the globe, there’s been a focus on curbing top end speed with vehicles. A European Transport Safety Council proposal has been introduced for speed limiters to be installed news in the EU within three years. This plan will be enforced by the European Parliament as a requirement for Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) being added to all new cars over the next three years.
Ford has ISA in its most recent Ford Focus, but the technology can be switched off by drivers. Will more vehicles adopt this technology? Time will tell, but there is no doubt that it makes sense to reduce vehicles traveling to extreme speeds. There are some people who don’t believe in this approach, as a new bill was introduced in 2019 to remove speed limits in California. That’s the opposite approach being done in places in Europe, like Germany.
New Steps To Prevent Speeding
Most famously, the world famous Germany highway, the Autobahn, currently has no federally mandated speed limit for certain classes of vehicles. However, this is expected to change as well sometime in the next decade. Everyone knows speed is the main reason car crashes are fatal, but also errors in judgment while driving. Those are the reason why Volvo is taking the actions towards its “Vision 2020” plan. They have announced they will have a special safety event planned in Sweden on March 20th to showcase to the industry and world their plans to help make roads safer and deter distracted driving.
"We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that change their driver's behavior, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction. We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer," said Volvo president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson.
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