FORD CLAIMS to have come up with a system that can prevent drivers unintentionally speeding. The technology uses a camera mounted in the front of the car that can recognise speed limit signs. If the driver enters a zone with a lower limit, fuel flow to the engine is cut so that the vehicle gradually slows down.
The system keeps the car inside the speed limit unless it is switched off or the driver overrides it by pressing hard on the accelerator. When the speed limit ends or changes, the car’s limiter adjusts accordingly.
The system is an evolution of Ford’s speed warning system, which is fitted to cars including the Focus and Mondeo. It identifies speed limit signs and displays them on the dashboard as a reminder to the driver.
When The Sunday Times tested this more basic system in a Focus, the technology was confused by the red-bordered stickers on the back of continental lorries, which display their maximum speed on a motorway in kilometres per hour. The Focus interpreted these as speed limit signs and assumed that the limit was 90mph. Ford says the software has been improved.
The latest technology will be fitted as standard to the new version of the S-Max people carrier, although Ford insists that the company will not be responsible for any speeding tickets incurred: liability rests with the driver.