The move has come because “too many people get seriously injured or even killed because of excessive speeding”.
Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said: “While a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”
The company cited figures from the US government’s highway safety agency showing that 25% of traffic fatalities in 2017 were caused by speeding.
Samuelsson also pointed out that in-car safety technology and road infrastructure design are all based on cars travelling at (or slightly beyond) the local speed limit.
Once a car goes significantly beyond the legal limit, a car’s safety systems are no longer enough to protect occupants or other road users in the event of an accident. Similarly, barriers and other road infrastructure are not designed to cope with vehicles losing control at significantly above the speed limit.
Your next Volvo may overrule your driving decisions
In addition to limiting top speeds, Volvo is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.
Many motorists will be alarmed to hear of a car company openly planning to incorporate such big-brother tactics to override the driver. Today’s announcement also throws up more questions about how car companies and governments may co-operate to electronically control new vehicles in the not-too-distance future.
“We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behaviour, to tackle things such as speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Samuelsson.
“We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
Intoxication and distraction are the two other main killers
Volvo Cars will present ideas to tackle these two problem areas at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 20 March.