Ford have announced plans to produce a car with the ability to monitor road signs and alter the vehicles speed accordingly. The system has been labelled as both ‘’groundbreaking’’ and a ‘’stopgap’’ with many questioning whether the system will be completely water-tight. Named ‘’Intelligent Speed Limiter’’ the feature is expected to be rolled out in the S-Max before moving onto all of Ford’s latest models.
Ford, however, has suggested that the technology will not be mandatory and can be overriden by forcing down the accelerator. A button has also been mooted, but the plans are currently firmly in the development stage with Ford hoping to roll out the bespoke technology upon launch of the new S-Max. The long-term plan is, of course, to implement the technology in all of Ford’s upcoming models.
The system, already tipped to divide opinion, will combine two technologies that you may already be familiar with. Adjustable Speed Limiters uses sensors in the wheels to monitor your speed and limits fuel in the engine rather than interfering with the brakes.
Traffic Sign Recognition is another; a mounted video camera it monitors the road for environment changes and alerts the driver to signs.
The system is only likely to improve Ford’s relationship with in-car safety systems with the Fiesta and Focus already receiving favourable treatment from independent safety body EuroNCAP.
Steffan Kappes Ford’s safety supervisor was quick to disavow the notion that drivers will find it intrusive: "Drivers are not always conscious of speeding... sometimes only becoming aware they were going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement,".
"Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit."
Intelligent Speed Limiter joins a bucket-load of technology filtering into the industry with Volvo championing a ‘’crash-free’’ future it seems we are fast-approaching an age where collisions are infrequent.
Ford countered claims of inconvenience with statistics that 15,000 drivers had been hit with a speeding fine of over £100. When presented with these facts, it was hard to argue in the face of Intelligent Speed Limiter and how receptive the public would be.
Mercedes have developed ''drowsiness-detection'' technology to monitor eye movement in order to tell the driver to take a break if they demonstrate severe tiredness. Ford have invested in a ‘’heart-attack’’ detector that will take note of the drivers heart rate and give the vehicle full control in the event of danger.
That’s without even considering the addition of driverless cars to our roads in the near future and it’s almost a certainity that safety testing on these vehicles will be rigorous.