New technology ensures you’re not speeding

While self-driving RVs and caravans are still a fantasy, new technology will read road signs and adjust your car’s speed accordingly.

Ford in the US has developed a car that can not only read road ­signs, but can adjust the car’s speed to ensure you’re not driving too fast. The technol­ogy will offer protection against an occasional lapse of concentration, or an unex­pected or unseen change in speed limit.

It combines two existing technologies. A forward-facing windscreen-mounted video camera scans the environment for road signs and alerts the driver to their presence. This is then linked with speed limiter sensors mounted in the car’s wheels to detect how fast the car is travelling. If the software detects that the vehicle needs to go slower, it smoothly controls engine torque by electronically adjusting the amount of fuel delivered, rather than applying the brakes. It can be overridden by press­ing firmly on the accelerator if there is a need to quickly accelerate for safety reasons.

The main benefits appear to be:

  • Advising when the speed limit is being exceeded
  • Advising when speed limits change, such as those associated with traffic conditions, weather or school zones
  • Advising the current posted speed limit in any location
  • Preventing excessive speeding.

While the technology is not yet in vehicles in Australia, it is expected to be introduced in 2017 as the second generation of the Ford S-MAX is launched.