Some people drive too fast, causing problems for safer drivers on the road. While police officers do their best to curb speeding, they can’t be everywhere at once, and some speeders are sure to slip by.
New York City is currently experimenting with technology that could limit the number of speeders on the road, and if the trial goes well, it could be used in all 30,000 of the city’s fleet vehicles. Speed limiters, or Intelligent Speed Assistants (ISAs), use GPS to identify a car’s location and measure its speed against the limit in the area. The technology then automatically slows the vehicle. Here’s a look at how speed limiters work.
While we don’t know if speed limiters will start being used throughout the country, the technology is here, and New York City is experimenting with it. It’s also everywhere in Europe, as every new car sold in the EU has some form of speed limiter. Here’s what you should know:
What’s Happening in New York City
In August of 2022, New York City announced it would begin a trial of a revolutionary innovation aimed at reducing speed-related problems on the road. The trial will include the installation of active intelligent speed assistant technology in 50 city fleet vehicles.
If successful, the trial could expand to cover all 30,000 vehicles in New York City’s fleet, including sanitation trucks, passenger vehicles, and street pavers. These vehicles are spread across 60 agencies, but emergency vehicles will be exempt.
How the Technology Works
A speed limiter prevents a vehicle’s speed from passing a certain number. The technology uses GPS to identify the car’s location and send the local speed limit to the vehicle’s dashboard. The car is also equipped with a sign recognition camera that looks for local speed limits.
The car’s ISA uses this speed limit information to keep it below the limit as it travels. However, the driver can override many basic speed limiters by pushing the accelerator as the vehicle begins to slow to the speed limit.
Active and Passive ISAs
Vehicles can be equipped with two types of ISAs: active and passive. The difference is in how the device attempts to keep the driver below the speed limit.
An active speed limiter, which will be installed in New York City’s fleet vehicles, activates when the driver exceeds the limit, and automatically slows the car down. This method is the more efficient of the two when it comes to curbing speeding.
A passive system doesn’t actually slow the vehicle; it simply produces an alert when the driver exceeds the speed limit. These systems offer a reminder and might annoy speeders, but they don’t do anything to slow the car down. Passive intelligent speed assistant systems are currently the norm in Europe.
How Much Good Can ISAs Do?
It will take years to figure out how much of an impact ISA devices will have on speeding, and even longer if widespread adoption doesn’t happen. However, estimates suggest that reducing speeds on the roads could reduce accidents by 30% and deaths by 20%.
The European Union believes it can eliminate deaths on the road entirely by 2050 by making speed limiters mandatory. The EU is also forcing manufacturers to install driver fatigue detection devices, black boxes, and built-in breathalyzers.
There is hope that intelligent speed assistant devices could reduce vehicle-related terrorist attacks in city centers and other busy locations because the car will be forced to travel the speed limit. However, drivers can override the current systems, limiting their effectiveness in those scenarios.
The Future of Driving Could Be Totally Different
We don’t know if intelligent speed assistants will become mainstream in the U.S., but New York City’s trial means the technology is on government officials’ radar. While there are undoubtedly some kinks to work out, this technology has the potential to make the roads safer for future generations.
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