Intelligent speed adaptation possible solution to speeding problem

Last week’s DYK article discussed the neglected problem of speeding. Now, Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) may be a solution that will save lives and prevent serious injuries.

According to Wikipedia, intelligent speed adaptation uses information about the road to determine the required speed. Information can be obtained from knowledge of the vehicle position, taking into account speed limits known for the position, and by interpreting road features such as signs. ISA systems are designed to detect and alert a driver when a vehicle has entered a new speed zone, or when different speed limits are in force according to time of day and conditions. Many ISA systems also provide information about driving hazards (e.g., high pedestrian movement areas, railway crossings, schools, hospitals, etc.) and limits enforced by speed and traffic light cameras. The purpose of ISA is to assist the driver to maintain a safe and lawful speed at all times.

The two types of ISA systems (active and passive) differ in that passive systems simply warn the driver of the vehicle travelling at a speed in excess of the speed limit, while active systems intervene and automatically correct the vehicle’s speed to conform to the speed limit.

Passive systems are generally driver advisory systems. They alert the driver to the fact that they are speeding, provide information as to the speed limit, and allow the driver to make a choice on what action should be taken. These systems usually display visual or auditory warnings and may include tactile cues, such as a vibration of the accelerator pedal. Some passive ISA technology trials have used vehicles modified to provide haptic feedback by making the accelerator pedal stiffer when appropriate to alert the driver. Most active ISA systems allow the driver to override the ISA when deemed necessary; this is thought to enhance acceptance and safety, but leaves a significant amount of speeding unchecked.

According to CNN Business, new cars sold in Europe from 2022 will have to be fitted with systems to limit their speed. Under new safety rules agreed by the European Union, all new vehicles are required to have “intelligent speed assistance” systems as standard equipment. The EU rules don’t mandate specific technology for the systems, which can be temporarily overridden by the driver. Some carmakers have already developed ways of using GPS or cameras to detect posted speed limits and make sure vehicles adhere to them.

European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a statement that 25,000 people are killed each year on European roads, with the vast majority of collisions being caused by human error. “With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced,” she said.

Intelligent speed assistance systems don’t automatically apply the brakes when a car is going too fast. Instead, they limit engine power to keep vehicles to the speed limit unless overridden by the driver.

As far as I know there is no plan to introduce this technology into the U.S., but I would guess it isn’t too far off.

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