Speeding may prove to be more difficult for European drivers in the years ahead.
The European Commission has made a technology called Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) mandatory for all new models/types of vehicles introduced on the European market, one that leverages a car’s cameras, map data, deep learning, and other technologies to determine whether a vehicle is driving over the speed limit.
Drivers who are caught speeding by the ISA system will be warned in various ways, including acoustics, vibrations, haptic feedback through the acceleration pedal, and, perhaps most effectively, a speed control function that reduces a car’s speed to within the speed limit.
The European Commission has run a test project called PROSPER that suggests ISA will be effective enough to reduce fatalities by as much as 19–28% in a “market-driven scenario,” whereby car manufacturers have the option of whether or not to implement the system, while in a regulated scenario, fatalities could be reduced by up to 50%.
There appear to be some major catches, though, with one being that car manufacturers will have the freedom to choose what portions of the system to implement. Drivers will also be able to override any of the measures, including automatic speed reduction, which can reportedly be bypassed just by pressing the acceleration pedal deeper.
Ford teased its Intelligent Speed Limiter technology back in 2015 with a video that demonstrates how the tech could scan traffic signs and adjust the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.
The first two feedback options do not directly intervene but only provide warnings (first optic and if no response from the driver, a delayed acoustic/vibrating warning), which have to be as short as possible in duration to avoid potential annoyance of the driver.
The other possible feedback relies on the pedal restoring force – it will push the driver’s foot gently back to make the driver aware and help to slow down. The driver can ignore this feedback and override the system by pushing slightly harder on the acceleration pedal. Even in the case of speed control function, where the car speed will be automatically gently reduced, the system can be smoothly overridden by the driver by pressing the accelerator pedal a little bit deeper.