(Relaxnews) – Ford is launching a new technology called Intelligent Speed Limiter that will ensure that whatever the road and whatever the country, you’ll never accidentally pick up a speeding fine.
The new feature, making its debut on the new S-Max sports activity vehicle — which launches this week in Europe — is different from existing systems that allow drivers to set a maximum speed, say when using cruise control, for example, and could be long overdue.
In 2013, over 15,000 UK drivers picked up a hefty £100+ speeding fine while in Germany last year 93,000 drivers picked up a speeding ticket within the first full day of a nationwide crackdown on speeding being introduced.
“Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they were going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement,” said Stefan Kappes, active safety supervisor, Ford of Europe. “Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit.”
The system achieves this by combining a manually adjustable maximum speed limit feature with road sign recognition technology. The idea is that if the road sign reading camera integrated into the car’s windshield spots a new speed limit declaring the maximum speed to be lower than the car’s current velocity, it will automatically slow the car down, by reducing the flow of fuel to the engine. As well as slowing the car down safely and gradually, this approach is much safer than applying the brakes.
But as well as reading signs, the system is integrated with the car’s on-board navigation system so that it is aware in time of changes to speed limits on the road ahead and can ensure that the car is always traveling at the optimum speed.
The system is effective at speeds between 20mph and 120mph (30-193kph) but will still ultimately cede control to the driver. If the car starts to slow down but acceleration is needed — say for overtaking or avoiding another vehicle — simply press the accelerator pedal harder. Likewise, if the speed limit is breached while going down hill, rather than restrict the engine, an alarm will sound prompting the driver to engage the brakes.
For a number of years, radar-guided cruise control has been a standard feature on all premium vehicles enabling a driver to set a speed and the car will maintain it, and a safe distance from the car behind, automatically slowing down if the gap closes due to the car ahead reducing its speed.
Likewise, in Japan, all cars are electronically limited to a 99mph speed limit. However, the limiter is GPS-enabled, meaning that when a car arrives at a racetrack, the system is aware and allows the car to preform at its natural limits while within the confines of the circuit, at least.