Would you be willing to give up a little bit of privacy in the name of increased on-road safety? If so, you may want to consider a new Volvo. According to CAR, Volvo plans to begin offering in-car cameras as an option later this year. And while it may sound like an invasive spy program, the Swedish automaker promises the cameras will be all about benefiting the driver.
Speaking with CAR, Atif Rafiq, Volvo’s chief digital officer, said the optional driver-monitoring cameras will go on sale in the next 12 months, and at least for now, there are no plans to force drivers to adopt them. That said, he does appear to believe the cameras will become a popular option once customers realize the benefits they offer.
“Driver-facing cameras will become an option in our cars in 2019,” said Rafiq. “They’re very advanced these days: they can determine a driver’s glucose levels by looking at their pupils, so could call a loved one or hospital if it detected a health problem. Cars will understand your state and destress you on your way back from work.”
In-car cameras are also expected to become more important in the next few years as Level 3 driver-assist features such as GM’s SuperCruise become more common. Since drivers need to be able to take back control of the car at any moment, those systems need to know how attentive the driver is in order to be reasonably safe.
To protect customer privacy, Rafiq said footage will be anonymized and won’t be shared. And once cameras become more common inside cars, he believes it will open up a world of possible conveniences. “Cameras can be used for video conferencing and ID purposes too,” he predicted. “Your car will recognize you and set your Google apps, climate control and seating position for you. It’s very clever.”