Although the feature may sound like another way of removing our free will as drivers, Ford executives are attempting to sell the feature on the basis that it will reduce the number of speeding tickets that drivers receive. “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 Ford of Europe’s active safety supervisor Stefan Kappes.
Car reads signs and limits speed accordingly
The feature, shown in this video on the PCMag website, is known as intelligent speed limiter technology and will prevent drivers from accidentally breaking the speed limit. A camera on the cars windshield will read the speed limit signs, and use the engine’s torque to slow the car down if it detects that you are going too fast.
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Ford’s S-Max will be the first car to contain the new feature, which will be strictly limited to Europe and the S-Max to give the company time to gauge demand. It appears that speeding tickets are a major concern for European drivers, because a Ford spokesman claims that the feature arose after the company “asked customers what they’d like in their cars and this is one of the things that came up.”
A shift in power from driver to vehicle?
The speed limiter is engaged via the steering wheel, and can be overridden at any time by pressing firmly on the accelerator pedal. Although Ford is not making the speed limiter technology obligatory, as is thought to be the case in Google’s car, it goes to show just how much control and responsibility is being shifted from the driver to the car itself.
Various automobile manufacturers are working on features such as the speed limiter which are designed to increase road safety, and Ford seems to be ahead of the pack. The company is trialing the feature in its S-Max, aimed at families, and buyers of that particular vehicle are more likely to give positive feedback than Mustang owners.
Increasing road safety can only be a good thing, but there is something slightly dreary about handing over increasing amounts of control to your car.