Ford New Car Slows for Speed Limit Signs


Ford is introducing a new car that is able to read road signs and slow its speed accordingly so that the car isn’t breaking any speed restrictions.  The new tech would be activated via the steering wheel and can be overridden by pressing the accelerator.  The idea, according to the company, is that the facility will aid drivers in avoiding speeding fines and also reduce the number of accidents.


However one industry epert said that the innovation may only serve as a stopgap measure.  The plans are in place for the speeding restriction to be sent to the car’s onboard computer which would then control the speed accordingly, rather than making use of a visual recognition system.

This automatic system would be a facet of a system that would connect vehicles together, so that if one car slowed, the other would automatically know about it.  It is another step towards autonomous cars able to drive themselves but this is still believed to be a long way off.

Ford’s new innovation will start to be added to its S-Max cars being released across Europe in August while a spokesman for the US giant said that more models of their cars would soon have the system added.

Cost of speeding

The system is called the Intelligent Speed Limiter and uses two technologies that are already present on most cars – adjustable speed limiters and traffic sign recognition.

The adjustable speed limiter uses sensors on the car’s wheels to understand how fast it is going and uses software to detect when it reaches the maximum speed that has been preset.  When this is reached, the amount of fuel sent to engine is limited rather than using the brakes.  The system also allows the driver to quickly stop the limit by pressing the accelerator.

Traffic sign recognition is done through forward-facing windscreen mounted video cameras that scan the environment for road signs and let the driver know when it spots one.  Ford cars that already have this tech show a graphic on the dashboard display when a sign is spotted.

Drivers will be able to set the new system to exceed the speed limit by no more than 5mph.

Some drivers, Ford acknowledge, will not be enthusiastic about the idea of giving up control of their vehicle but most will appreciate the convenience and the safety of the system.  Stfean Kappes, a safety supervisor at Ford said that many drivers are often unaware they are speeindg and only realise when they are pulled over y law enforcement or receive a fine.  The new system would be able to ensure the driver remains within the speed limit.

It could also save drivers a lot of money – in the UK along in 2013, over 15,000 drivers were issued with speeding fines that cost more than £100 while one in six US drivers receive a speeding ticket.  In Finland, one driver was fined 54,000 Euros after being caught driving just 14mph over a 50mph speed limit.

Such figures are why Ford are hoping that drivers will be willing to pay extra money to have the system on their cars, as it is not included on the basic S-Max model.


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