Intelligent speed assistance: why ISA cannot become mandatory today

Speeding is still the main cause in 30% of all fatal accidents on Europe’s roads. Today’s passenger cars come increasingly equipped with active safety systems to help drivers avoid speed-related traffic accidents.

Speed limit information (SLI) systems, for example, inform the driver of the current speed limit by displaying it on the dashboard and/or navigation system, using a camera to recognise road signs or speed-limit data from the navigation system (many combine both).

Looking ahead, intelligent speed assistance (ISA) technology holds promise for the future. ISA systems can actively prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit using road-sign recognition cameras and GPS-linked speed limit databases. Today, however, there are still many infrastructure-related issues holding back its widespread application.

In practice, ISA systems still show too many false warnings due to incorrect or outdated information. For example, because road signs are not harmonised across Europe. Digital maps are also not fully populated with speed limit information for all roads, and data are not always updated. Moreover, camera-based systems cannot anticipate all scenarios, such as when traffic signs are covered up.

ISA: incorrect or outdated speed-limit information

That is why ISA systems should be introduced gradually in cars to provide enough time to update our infrastructure, including new solutions for providing reliable information to the vehicle. In the meantime, speed limit information (SLI) systems are an effective alternative, combined with better enforcement and driver training.