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First step for Intelligent Speed Assistance?

20 September 2010

For the first time a new car, the Citroen C4, received additional points under the EuroNCAP vehicle safety ranking for fitting a driver-set speed limitation device as standard equipment across the model range.

As of 2009, EuroNCAP produces one overall star rating for each car tested with a maximum of five stars. This overall safety rating is composed of scores in four areas: adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and a new area called safety assist. Under the safety assist area, EuroNCAP rewards seatbelt reminders, but also the standard fitment of Electronic Stability Control and speed limiters.

A driver-set speed limitation device is standard across the C4 model range (a car that received an overall 5 star rating), allowing drivers to manually set the maximum speed they do not wish to exceed.

In a statement, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said it welcomes the allocation of additional points for the fitment of speed limiters and the fact that for the first time a car has had its score increased for the fitment of this technology. This can be a very important signal and an incentive for manufacturers to equip their vehicles with speed limitation devices.

ETSC hopes that this can be a first step towards the future market penetration of an even more advanced speed limitation technology: Intelligent Speed Assistance - a collection of technologies which assist the driver in the task of speed control. At its core is the principle that the vehicle (as opposed to the driver only) is aware of the prevailing speed limit and gives the driver feedback, and in some cases restricts additional acceleration, to keep the vehicle at or under the speed limit. The most commonly chosen method to make the vehicle aware of its location and the prevailing speed limit is the use of GPS devices and an onboard digital speed map.

ISA has clearly been identified as a piece of equipment that has one of the biggest life-saving, injury prevention, and CO2 emissions reduction potential. Research and development of ISA systems has been conducted over many years, and ISA systems are now mature and low-cost products ready for their long awaited market penetration.

The inclusion in the European Commission’s new road safety policy orientations of the development of “in-vehicle systems providing real-time information on prevailing speed limits” is also welcomed as a step in the right direction.

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