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Volvo will limit cars to 112MPH as it explores speed-restricting tech

It believes existing safety measures don't work well at high speeds.
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Roberto Baldwin/Engadget

Volvo is nothing if not safety-conscious, and it's making clear that speed is one of its greatest concerns. The Swedish brand is limiting the top speed on all its cars to 112MPH starting with the 2021 model year. Safety technology and city infrastructure isn't enough to prevent injuries at high speeds, Volvo said. The lower limits would both address this gap and encourage better driver behavior. On top of this, it hinted at using technology to restrict speeds.

The firm is looking into a mix of geofencing and "smart speed control" to automatically restrict speeds around hospitals and schools in the future. Volvo is wondering if car brands have a "right or maybe even an obligation" to use technology that curbs reckless behavior, and it hopes that exploring restrictions could spark a discussion.

There's little doubt that this serves as a publicity move -- it makes Volvo look forward-thinking to concerned motorists. At the same time, the company is also acknowledging a reality for the car industry. Semi-autonomous features and smart cities provide safety options that just weren't on the table until now, and it's not certain that automakers have fully explored the technology's potential.

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