The plan, dubbed 'Vision Zero', will see Volkswagen's passenger car range adopt a number of technologies designed to protect passengers and pedestrians.
Volkswagen says it will focus on measures that improve a driver’s perception of their vehicle’s surroundings, as well as their ability to negotiate challenging traffic situations. It will also implement emergency brake technology that will be applied when drivers do not react to pedestrians.
Volkswagen has indicated it is developing autonomous driving technologies, which would allow their cars to steer themselves and come to a complete stop if they detect a driver is suffering from a medical emergency. Further self-driving technologies would include park assist systems than not only aid in parking, but also help drivers exit from narrow spaces.
According to Volkswagen, these areas of development should significantly reduce the frequency and number of preventable accidents and serious injuries by improving the safety of vehicle occupants and road users.
Volkswagen's newly announced Vision Zero strategy has similarly with Volvo’s ‘Vision 2020’ plan, in place since 2008.
That plan goes beyond merely reducing the number of injuries and accidents, and seeks to have “no one killed or injured in a new Volvo by 2020”.
Volvo has identified several areas in which the greatest safety gains can be made. Cars must manage their speed and distance from other road users with adaptive support systems for drivers; they must remind drivers to wear seatbelts; and they should employ alcohol interlocks that inhibit intoxicated drivers from driving.
Worringly for enthusiasts, Volvo also says there is a need to limit the performance of vehicles before drivers, passengers and pedestrians can be completely safe.