Ford’s latest gizmo limits your speed by reading road signs

25 Mar 2015

A new ‘Intelligent Speed Limiter’, launched by Ford in its new S-Max car, manages your speed by addressing road signs along the way.

In a weird piece of tech, the car manufacturer is looking to solve a problem that it perceives is rampant in Europe.

That problem is people speeding, not realising it, and then getting fined for their behaviour.

The system monitors road signs with a camera mounted on the windscreen, and slows the vehicle as required. That is all predicated by the driver initially choosing his or her preferred top speed, with the system working from there.

As the speed limit rises, the system allows the driver to accelerate up to the set speed – providing it does not exceed the new limit.

It doesn’t affect the breaks, or indeed the accelerator, it merely manages the fuel flow to the engine – the override, in case you were wondering, is the perfectly understandable flooring of your foot on the accelerator.

“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.”

Pretty weird reasoning, but it’s cear this technology is the next step on the road towards driverless cars. And the steps are growing in number every day.

Road sign image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic