Ford has launched a car that actually prevents drivers from speeding. The new Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter certainly takes the notion of the backseat driver to an entirely new level! It seems that not everyone is going to be ecstatic about this one, especially the gearheads of the world. The system will only be offered in Europe and in the Ford S-Max model, for the time being, so take comfort in that if you are on the other side of the pond.
How it works: The Ford S-Max is packing a sinister technology called Intelligent Speed Limiter. The system reads the speed limit signs along the roads and electronically limits the vehicle to adhere to them, slowing down accordingly. It reads the speed limit postings via a camera mounted on the dash, which I suppose could be removed in the event one needs to pull a 007 maneuver to escape impending danger. In reality, overriding the system only requires a nice delivery of pressure to the gas pedal–signaling to the engine to ignore the pesky advice. Also, the driver must manually turn on the system, which is comforting. The electronic components of the Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter simply adjust the amount of fuel the vehicle receives in efforts to lower the speed.
Ford of Europe’s active safety supervisor Stefan Kappes addressed the system as follows: “Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they are going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail or are pulled over by law enforcement. Intelligent Speed Limiter can remove one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit.” Apparently, the idea to develop the system stemmed from consumer based research in Europe, meaning some drivers actually want their speed controlled. It would be interesting to see how Americans would react to the same questions.
Overall, the Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter is yet another futuristic feature along the road to autonomous vehicles. Will cars become personal trains someday? We shall see!
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