Just as people say you’re not a true college student if you didn’t flunk at least once, so drivers are not “experienced” enough if they never got a speeding ticket. But Ford could ride that saying to an end.
The second largest US automaker is going to introduce a new active feature called the Intelligent Speed Limiter. While today’s vehicles have features that show current speed limits (and other traffic signs) on the navigation display or even on the head-up display, the Ford feature, rolled out on the next generation S-Max minivan will take you to new…speeds. “Drivers are not always conscious of speeding,” comments 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 is building on already available systems – such as traffic monitoring cameras and active cruise control – by tapping them and ultimately controlling the effective speed of the vehicle. The Limiter will automatically put the car’s cruise control in line with the allowed maximum legal speed and then adjust accordingly when the latter changes (e.g., exiting a city and entering the motorway).
The system will not hit the brakes, but rather limit the throttle in order to achieve a smooth transition when dropping speed and it will first be rolled out in Europe. That’s because the Old Continent generally has uniform traffic sign shapes and European motorists are also usually compelled to lower speed limits – there’s also very strict enforcement, including an estimated 35,000 speed-trap cameras.