The recent announcement that EU rules for fitting speed limiters to new cars from 2022 will be adopted by the UK was welcomed by many, including the European Transport Safety Council, as a move that will save lives. However, not everyone is convinced by this 'guardian angel' technology.
The AA pointed out that there are times, when overtaking for example, when temporarily exceeding the speed limit may be safer. Others have said that proposed 'black boxes' that would record a vehicle’s speed, among other things, amount to big brother surveillance. So is this surveillance and intrusion justified given the potential benefits?
Speed assistance technology uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) to establish a car’s location and then sends it a message about the road’s speed limit. Cars can also be fitted with a camera to identify speed limit signs by the road.
The car – rather than the driver – would use these two inputs to keep below the speed limit. The technology the EU proposes would allow drivers discretion, however, so a driver would have the option to override the reduction in speed by pushing the accelerator.
This technology, which is already available in some cars, can be seen as a step towards Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) which will need to respect speed limits. But there are still a number of more detailed issues we need to address to resolve the question of whether the pros outweigh the cons.