What is intelligent speed assistance?

13 September 2022


What is intelligent speed assistance, otherwise known as ISA? The technology stands to make roads safer by reducing speeding. Set to feature in all new cars sold in the EU from July 2024, ISA’s impact will be massive. Autovista24 deputy editor Tom Geggus unpacks how the feature works, and what it means for the automotive industry.

Show notes

Autovista24 What is? series

European Commission: Intelligent Speed Adaptation

European Commission: Speed and speed management summary

Slowing speeding

According to the European Commission, speeding is not only enormously common, but also a major contributory factor in around 10% of all global collisions. Reducing average speeds by only 1kph could result in a 5% reduction in fatal crashes. Speed signs, cameras, and public awareness campaigns have helped slow drivers down, but now ISA could be the key to actively combatting speeding.

Gathering data on local limits via GPS or camera, an intelligent speed-assistance system can alert the driver if the vehicle is going too fast. This can be done in several ways, including audio or haptic feedback, having the accelerator pedal push back against the driver’s foot, or even limiting fuel injection.

All these systems are designed to help keep a car’s occupants conscious of the speed limit. However, it is important to note that ISA does not use the brakes, and the driver always remains in control of the vehicle. Each feedback option contains an override ability, so the car can maintain its speed if needed.

As of 6 July this year, all new vehicles launched within the EU must be fitted with an intelligent speed-assistance system. Then, from July 2024, all new cars sold in the region must be fitted with ISA, which does not impact vehicles already registered.

While the technology holds promise and the legislation good intentions, ISA is not necessarily flawless. If a system’s camera picks up irrelevant signs such as those on slip roads, causing the vehicle to slow, the driver could become irritated and possibly turn off the technology altogether.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) cautioned that minimum ISA standards could lead to carmakers building systems with limited safety benefits, which end up annoying drivers. ‘Intelligent speed assistance, one of the life-saving systems with the most potential, has been severely weakened,’ commented Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC.

This being said, with the growing application of over-the-air (OTA) updates, inadequate technology could be upgraded at a later date, making systems more capable and user-friendly.

Autovista24’s What is? series explains some of the automotive industry’s most important terms. Recent videos include electric-vehicle solid-state batteries, the automotive supply chain, features on demand, and semiconductors.

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