New Cars to Get Anti-Speeding Controls
Every new car sold in the European Union will soon include anti-speeding technology known as intelligent speed assistance or ISA. The EU regulation (part of the broader General Vehicle Safety Regulation) goes into effect today and states that all new models and types of cars introduced to the European market must include an ISA system. The policy doesn’t apply to any new cars that are in showrooms today — at least, not yet. By July 2024, every new car sold in the EU must have a built-in anti-speeding system.
“The rollout of ISA is a huge step forward for road safety and has the potential to dramatically reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities. Car manufacturers now have the opportunity to maximize the potential ISA presents for creating safer roads for all,” said the European Commission in a press release.
For those unfamiliar with ISA, the term describes a whole raft of systems that can detect road speed limits via front-mounted cameras, GPS data or both. Depending on the specific ISA and how it’s configured by the driver, the technology can provide reminder feedback about the speed limit, automatically adjust cruise control to match the road’s speed or even reduce power to the motor to slow speeding vehicles.
Many drivers in Europe are already using ISA-equipped vehicles, and major automakers such as Honda, Ford, Jeep and Mercedes-Benz sell certain models with these systems in the European market. According to a projection by the EU-funded PROSPER, a scenario such as this one, where ISA becomes mandated, could result in between 26 and 50 percent fewer fatalities.
As Autocar notes, ISA technology still isn’t perfect. During one test, the ISA system was occasionally “slow to respond” and at one point set the speed limit at 60 mph while driving through a quiet towne.
Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA) is a technology that uses video cameras or GPS-linked speed limit data to help drivers stay within the posted speed limit. In most systems, ISA will provide a warning when the vehicle is approaching or exceeding the speed limit.
Sometimes, ISA also acts as an automatically adjusting speed limiter, preventing the driver from accelerating beyond the speed limit.
How Does Intelligent Speed Assistance Work?
ISA systems use video cameras or GPS-linked speed limit data to detect the posted speed limit. Once the speed limit is detected, the ISA system will provide a warning to the driver if they exceed the posted speed.
For example, if the posted speed limit is 50 mph. The ISA system would alert the driver if they were driving over 50 mph. The driver would then have the option to slow down or ignore the warning.
There are four main types of ISA systems:
- Cascaded Acoustic Warning: The cascaded acoustic warning ISA provides an auditory warning to the driver when the vehicle is approaching or exceeding the speed limit. It is regarded as an ‘advisory’ system, as drivers can easily ignore it.
- Cascaded Vibrating Warning: The cascaded vibration warning ISA uses pedal vibration to provide a tactile alert to the driver when the vehicle is approaching or exceeding the speed limit. It is also an ‘advisory’ system.
- Haptic Feedback: Haptic feedback systems rely on the acceleration pedal’s restoring force to provide feedback to the driver. When the driver exceeds the speed limit, the pedal will become harder to press, providing a physical cue that they are going too fast.
- Speed Control Function: ISA systems can also be set to auto-adjust the vehicle’s speed to stay within the posted limit. This works by limiting the amount of power sent to the engine. This way, even if the driver tries to speed up, the vehicle will not accelerate beyond the posted speed limit.
- GPS Signal Quality: Poor GPS signal quality can affect ISA systems that rely on GPS data for speed limit information. This is usually not a problem in urban areas but can be an issue in rural areas with a weaker GPS signal.
- Camera Placement: ISA systems that use video cameras can be impacted by their placement. If the cameras are placed incorrectly, they may not accurately detect speed limit signs.
- Weather: Weather can also impact ISA systems. If a road is wet, icy, or covered in snow, the ISA system may misread the speed limit.
Can You Turn ISA Speed Limiters Off?
Existing ISA systems can be turned off by the driver. However, following the EU ruling that all new cars introduced in the region must have ISA, it is unclear if drivers will have the same ability to turn off the system in the future.
ISA Will Make Roads Safer
While many drivers are unsure of what Intelligent Speed Assistance is and how it works, the benefits of this system are clear. By alerting drivers when they’re speeding, ISA can help save lives and money. ISA has some drawbacks, but the potential benefits far outweigh the negatives, especially when considering that the technology is still new and will improve with time.