21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Living life at the limiter

Some of the latest technologies within cars have been designed to increase the safety of the driver and passengers as well as other road users. One example of this innovation is speed limiters, which became mandatory on all new vehicles sold in Europe and the UK on 6 July 2022. This piece of technology has been designed to act as a speed warning system and uses the sensors on the car and the data within it to achieve this.

The data it uses comes from the GPS and the technology used are the traffic-sign-recognition camera. This combination helps determine the maximum speed the vehicle can go in a particular area. Once the sensors clarify the speed limit, a limit on the engine’s power and vehicle’s speed is enforced by the on-board computer. In addition, it will also reduce the possibility of having that moment where the accelerator is pushed slightly too hard and the driver being above the speed limit without knowing, which everyone has done at least once.

There are however some things we need to think about with this technology and the first is reliability. With GPS, you get moments that if you miss a turning it takes a minute to recalibrate where it is, so the speed limiter technology could potentially create dangerous situations for drivers and other road users. An example of this is a driver missing a turn-off from a 50mph speed limit road to a 20mph speed limit road. This miss could lead to a situation where the driver is fighting the throttle pedal because the limiter is demanding that the speed needs to be reduced, which is dangerous for all parties on the road.

The second is how accurate the sensors are. We know that some sensors give up reading signs if the weather deteriorates or if the sun is low in the sky, so this needs to be dealt with otherwise the technology will only work when the conditions are perfect. In addition, there is also the fact that sometimes sensors are not aligned correctly or have a fault, so it is important that they are calibrated correctly, which is where Repairify’s products and services come into play. This will then ensure that, theoretically, everything should work in harmony to help drivers keep at the correct speed and, in turn, increase road safety.

The third is what can be described as natural factors that can cause the cameras not to recognise road signs. These include roadside vegetation and sometimes the lack of infrastructure, meaning the speed limit is not signposted at all. They are not situations the driver can control but they are issues the highways agency can control with the necessary investment.

We know this technology is here to stay as an asset to drivers now and as we continue on the path to autonomous cars in the future. There are kinks that need to be worked out, but we believe they will be sorted as the technology continues to evolve.