STOCKHOLM -- Volvo, long known for its attention to safety, aims to have zero deaths or injuries in its new cars as of 2020 thanks to smart functions in its vehicles, Anders Eugensson, Volvo's head of government affairs, told the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Volvo, which is owned by China's Geely group, is currently developing cars that drive themselves and plans to launch a first model in 2014 that can drive at 31 miles per hour.

"Our vision is that no one is killed or injured in a new Volvo by 2020," Eugensson said.

According to the newspaper, Volvo has tested the prototypes on "thousands of miles of test drives on public roads in Spain and on the company's test track in western Sweden."

"The car of the future will be just like the farmer's horse. The farmer can steer the horse and carriage but if he falls asleep the horse can still (get) back home. And if the farmer tries to steer the carriage against a tree or off a cliff, the horse will refuse," Eugensson said.

Volvo refused to comment on how much they were investing in the project.

Meanwhile, the company announced Monday that its total investments for the period 2011-2015 would amount to $11 billion of which a third would go toward the renovation and expansion of its facilities in Sweden.

An undisclosed sum would also go toward developing a new, more fuel-efficient four cylinder engine.

Google has also been testing its own prototype of a self-driving car since 2010.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012