Modern cars trade on their sleek infotainment screens, but there’s an uneasy reality to infotainment. Like massive horsepower, infotainment screens often run counter to safety measures put in place by engineers. But Volvo is looking for a way forward.

Voice commands, something it says will be improved by the upcoming generation of Volvos sin Google Assistant in the infotainment system, will be a boon to automotive safety Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center, said during a Volvo Studio Talk.

“Being able to control key features on your Volvo by voice allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road,” said Ekholm. “Active safety systems such as City Safety, Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation with steer assist can act as an extra pair of eyes watching over you.”

And while Volvo’s reputation for safety is well-earned, it’s hard to ignore the complicated relationship Volvo (and all brands) have to infotainment. Like Starbucks applauded itself for no longer abusing the people who pick their coffee, it seems like the easier solution might just be to go back to smaller, or indeed no, screens.

But Eckholm says that’s not really realistic and it doesn’t really account for the reality of the situation.

“It is easy to think that phones and screens are the only scourge of the modern driver, but life as a whole is distracting,” said Ekholm. “We know people do not get distracted on purpose, but it happens. You could be late for daycare and somewhat stressed. Or you get behind the wheel after a bad day at work. All this affects you as a driver.”

The reality, says Ekholm, is that people want to connect, so rather than forcing them to abstain from connecting via the car—and more than likely connecting through their phone—that building safe ways to communicate is crucial.

“We want to meet our customers where they are, not where we want them to be,” said Ekholm. "That is why our focus is on using technology in the right way, so we can use it to help you stay safe behind the wheel.”