EU Mandates Speed Limiters, Others are Skeptical

This year the European Commission voted on whether or not mandate speed limiting technology in new vehicles. They voted to require the Intelligence Speed Assistance (ISA) limiter by 2022, and while many people praise the decision it does have its critics. All kinds of new car technologies are on the horizon, and automated vehicles will be on the roads sooner than we think. Tesla already has the ISA technology in addition to their other automated features. Whether you agree with the EU mandate or not, these kinds of automobile automations are coming.

EU Commission Ruling

The legislation greenlit by the European Union Commission includes one of several new safety features expected to be approved by the European Parliament in September. The mandate requires that all cars made after the year 2022 have to have the ISA technology. This doesn’t mean that it has to be used at every moment, but it does mean that each car will have the ability to limit the speed. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) acknowledged the risks of this technology and called for all of the cars equipped with the ISA technology to have an on/off switch. 

How it Works

When a car is started, the ISA technology will automatically activate. The technology uses camera, GPS, and traffic-sign recognition to detect the speed limit, and a limiter on the amount of power the engine receives and prevents the vehicle from accelerating. The system does not apply the brakes, and it can be overridden by pressing on the accelerator if is needed to avoid danger. This is seen as essential to the mandate, as well as the on/off switch.

Additional safety features include autonomous emergency braking, lane assist, driver fatigue, reverse cameras, and data loggers. These cars can also be fitted with breathalyzers for people who have been convicted of a DUI. There are also warnings when the driver is breaking the law or driving too fast for current traffic conditions. In addition, alerts are provided at or below the speed limit. 

Limitations & Benefits

Supports of the technology are quoting statistics that say there will be an estimated reduction of up to 30 percent in traffic collisions. They claim that up to 25,000 lives in the first 15 years. The EU Commission’s own research found that speed limiters calm traffic, reduce insurance costs, and lead to higher fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. 

There are limitations, however. We don’t know for sure how successful the speed limiters will be when implemented into every single vehicle. According to the specialists at MoneyPug, a site used to find cheap car insurance,  insurers have shown concern that there may be a gap between the ISA system and the driver pushing on the gas to escape an oncoming vehicle or other danger. There is also question of whether the sign-recognition technology is sufficient. Most cars have forward-facing cameras, but there is more of a variable with traffic-sign technology. 

Insurers & Other Governments

While insurance companies have been skeptical about the speed limiting technology, it is for good reason. If the technology were to be successful, there could a large decrease in insurance costs. It is not a good development for the industry. Although ISA and other automated technologies are going to put into cars very soon, others argue that authorities shouldn’t require them. For example, Tesla already uses the technology in the US. They have cars with ISA on the roads without the government requiring them. The EU decision to mandate speed limiters will lead to quicker change, but with sensitive technologies like this it may just be better to have a slower transition. 

It doesn’t matter how you see ISA technology or automated vehicles, they are quickly becoming a reality. The future of cars is uncertain, exciting, and revolutionary, but it will still take time to full transition into completely automated roads. Self-driving and computer-driven cars will likely save thousands of lives, but during the transition there is no way to know for sure how smoothly it will go. Before technology saves people, it may cause problems that we need to deal with. There is no stopping the future, we can only steer it in the right direction.


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