Driving over the speed limit might become impossible in the European Union one day, and today marks an important step towards that outcome.
On July 6, a technology called Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) has become mandatory for all new car models and types of vehicles introduced to the European market. Furthermore, the system will become mandatory for all new cars that will be sold in the EU from July 2024.
ISA uses the car’s cameras, map data and deep learning (among other methods) to check whether the car is driving over the speed limit, and if so, it can warn the driver in several ways, and even reduce the car’s speed to bring it within the limit.
According to the information provided by the European Commission, excess speed “contributes to around 30 percent of fatal crashes,” and ISA is designed to reduce the number of crashes due to speeding. A test project called PROSPER calculated crash reductions in six countries, and predicted that ISA implementation may reduce fatalities between 19-28 percent, depending on the country. That’s for a “market-driven scenario,” meaning that the tech would be implemented by car manufacturers on their own; in a regulated scenario, fatalities could be reduced between 26-50 percent.
As for how this will work in practice, ISA regulation provides several options for feedback to the driver when they’re speeding: an acoustic warning, a vibrating warning, haptic feedback through the acceleration pedal, and finally, speed control, where the speed is “automatically gently reduced.”
If this sounds too invasive, don’t worry: Car manufacturers will be “free to choose” from any of the above, and the driver will be able to override all of these measures. In one example, if the car automatically reduces speed, the driver will be able to speed up by “pressing the acceleration pedal a little bit deeper.” Furthermore, the driver will be able to deactivate the system completely should it become too annoying, though the system will be reviewed as it reaches wider implementation and may change in the future.