Driving over the speed limit may become illegal in the European Union one day, and today is an important step in that direction.
Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) became mandatory for all new car models and types of vehicles introduced to the European market on July 6. Furthermore, starting in July 2024, the system will be required for all new cars sold in the EU.
ISA uses the car’s cameras, map data, and deep learning (among other methods) to determine whether the vehicle is exceeding the speed limit, and if so, it can warn the driver in a variety of ways and even reduce the vehicle’s speed to bring it within the limit.
According to the European Commission, excessive speed “contributes to around 30 percent of fatal crashes,” and ISA is intended to reduce the number of crashes caused by speeding. A PROSPER test project estimated crash reductions in six countries and predicted that ISA implementation could reduce fatalities by 19-28 percent, depending on the country. That is for a “market-driven scenario,” in which car manufacturers would implement the technology on their own; in a regulated scenario, fatalities could be reduced by 26-50 percent.
In terms of how this will work in practice, the ISA regulation provides several options for driver feedback when they are speeding: an acoustic warning, a vibrating warning, haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal, and finally, speed control, in which the speed is “automatically gently reduced.”
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If this sounds too intrusive, don’t worry: car manufacturers will be “free to choose” from any of the above options, and the driver will be able to disable all of them. In one case, if the car automatically slows down, the driver can speed up by “pressing the acceleration pedal a little bit deeper.” Furthermore, the driver will be able to deactivate the system completely if it becomes too bothersome, though the system will be reviewed as it expands and may change in the future.