Ford Feature Can Limit Your Speed According To Signs

March 26, 2015

Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] has revealed a system that may help prevent unintended speeding—and, in some cases perhaps, speeding tickets themselves.

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Intelligent Speed Limiter, a function that’s on the way to market in some of the automaker’s European models, uses a windshield-mounted camera to essentially scan signs as you drive for the posted speed limit, then keep you in better touch with that posted speed limit.

If you are intentionally speeding, or would rather do without one more layer of nag in your driving experience, the feature allows some flexibility. For instance, you either set an absolute maximum speed, or an amount to ‘speed’ above the posted limit by a pre-set amount; or you could disable the feature completely.

The system will function at speeds of 20 to 120 mph, and it stacks with the Traffic Sign Recognition system that’s already offered in the Focus, Mondeo, and Kuga in Europe, as well as navigation data, where traffic signs are farther apart. But the system defers to real signs when possible, which puts it at an advantage over those navigation solutions, which can draw from inaccurate or dated speed-limit data, from our experience with some of them.

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A speed limiter that reads the signs

Intelligent Speed Limiter won’t apply the brakes to limit your speed, but it will gently lower your speed by restricting fuel supply. If you need to also apply the brakes an audible alarm would sound.

2015 Ford S-Max

2015 Ford S-Max

For now, the feature will be limited to Europe, where Ford will soon offer the feature on its S-Max people-mover—essentially a larger version of the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi models we get.

So far Volvo is the only company to offer a visual road-sign recognition system in the U.S.—although BMW also offers one in Europe.

In the U.S., we could see Ford packaging such a feature together with its MyKey system aimed at teen drivers and fleets.

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